Since the end of the 1970s the DPRK cultural policy began slowly to re-introduce certain features of traditional Korean culture which were marginalized or antiquated in the course of  the implementation of the chuch’e ideology and the exclusive orientation on the personality cult in all areas of society in the 1960s. The revived attention towards folk holidays, folk songs and classical literature was imbedded in the general political course in response to changes of inner and outer conditions. In more recent times this transformation of North Korean cultural politics lead to a focus on intensive fostering of the cultural heritage in combination with the Military-First Policy. The lecture will discuss a number of phenomena in the fields of literature, folklore and cinema which were reintroduced or newly invented in the 1980s and came to constitute major currents of cultural life in the following decades. Based on personal observations as a foreign exchange student as well as later research on North Korean literature and cultural heritage policy, the lecturer will try to reveal the strategies and mechanisms how modifications, alterations or even total revisions in certain aspects of culture have been made and how they were or still are presented to the people. 

Literature for reading:

Sonja Haeussler. “Revived Interest in Literary Heritage: Changes in DPRK Cultural Policy.“ Exploring North Korean Arts. Ed. by Rüdiger Frank. Nürnberg: Verlag für moderne Kunst, 2011, pp. 88–112.

(For a copy, please contact sonja.hauessler@orient.su.se)