Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Korean evangelicals in Afghanistan

Friend Ju Hui Judy Han is giving a talk this month at UC Berkeley about her work on Korean evangelicals and the politics of secularity.

You might know her from her fabulous graphic representation of key dissertation ideas in the form of humorous comics that I absolutely adore. Maybe everyone doing a dissertation should attempt to distill the ideas in the form of a comic... I'm thinking about it...

**please post widely**

Please join us for the following important critical perspective:

Ju Hui Judy Han (Geography, UC Berkeley)
"Missions Without Missionaries?: Politics of Secularity in the Case of Korean Evangelicals in Afghanistan"

Thursday, March 13, 2008
4 p.m.
Barbara Christian Room, 554 Barrows Hall

A group of twenty-three South Korean evangelicals made worldwide headlines in 2007 when they were taken hostage by the Taliban for nearly six weeks in Afghanistan. While critics pointed to the hostage situation as indicative of misguided missionary zeal and recklessness, mission advocates continued to claim that the hostages should be described as “church volunteers” or “humanitarian aid workers.” The insistence on avoiding the term “evangelical missionaries” certainly reflects the precarious nature of proselytizing illegally and the obvious need for secrecy in clandestine operations. But claims of secularity also arise out of mission strategies that espouse voluntarism and humanitarianism over conspicuous evangelism and conversion—an important feature of the new evangelical internationalism. Drawing from field research of “Islam missions” and “frontier missions,” this talk discusses how Korean/American missionaries reconcile notions of secularity and religiosity in the global capitalist-evangelical assemblage.

Ju Hui Judy Han is a PhD candidate in geography with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation concerns the politics of evangelism and subject-formation, and how contemporary Korean/American missions both support and subvert existing racial, gender, and geopolitical hierarchies associated with colonial missions and US hegemony.

Open to the public. Sponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, the Center for Korean Studies, and the Asian Cultural Studies Working Group. For further information, contact Christine Hong (cjhong@berkeley.edu).

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