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Jieun Lee, Performing Transnational Adoption: Unsettling Scripts in and out of Korea

March 31, 2023 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

In this lecture, Dr. Jieun Lee will talk about her work-in-progress book project entitled Performing Transnational Adoption: Unsettling Scripts. This research examines twelve contemporary theater and performance works from the 2010s which depict Korean transnational adoptees’ birth search and reunion. These pieces come from South Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Denmark and include plays, musical, autobiographical solo performance, community and immersive theater, and performance art. In this book, Dr. Lee argues that staging birth search and reunion unsettles dominant discourses of Korean transnational adoption that have essentialized adoptees through postwar humanitarian, colorblind multicultural, and ethnonationalist master narratives in both adoptive and birth cultures. Dr. Lee’s lecture will spotlight theater and performance as a crucial site that challenges the myths about Korean transnational adoption, and reimagines Korean adoptees’ identity, kinship, and belonging in the twenty-first century.


Dr. Jieun Lee is an Assistant Professor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Wake Forest University where she teaches courses on feminist theater and performance, transnational Asian and Asian American feminism, and gender and sexuality in contemporary Korea. Her research examines adoption intersected with drama, media, and activism in and out of South Korea and the United States through feminist perspectives. Dr. Lee is currently working on her first book entitled Performing Transnational Adoption: Unsettling Scripts under contract with The Ohio State University Press. Her peer-reviewed articles and reviews have appeared in Women’s Studies, Theatre JournalTheatre AnnualJournal of Japanese and Korean CinemaInternational Journal of Korean Studies, and Korea Journal among others. Since 2014, she has served as a volunteer translator for the South Korean Feminist Journal ILDA.


March 31, 2023
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
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FedEx Global Education Center, Room 1009
301 Pittsboro St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
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Carolina Asia Center
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The Carolina Asia Center supports diverse Asia-related events. However, CAC co-sponsorship of any talk, seminar, documentary screening, film screening, performance or celebration does not constitute endorsement of or agreement with the views presented therein. As an academic institution, we value diverse perspectives that promote dialogue and understanding.

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