An Alternate Pedigree of Korean and Korean American Literature: Introducing the Nak Chung Thun Archive

Date: Friday, April 14, 2023
Time: 06:30PM - 08:30PM
An Alternate Pedigree of Korean and Korean American Literature: Introducing the Nak Chung Thun Archive

This event introduces to the public the Nak Chung Thun Archive, which is part of the collection of the East Asian Library at the University of Southern California. Born in 1876 in Pyongan Province in today's North Korea, Thun immigrated to California via Hawaii in 1907, settling in Riverside and working as a laborer for most of his life. Until his passing in 1953, Thun privately wrote epic fiction and short stories in his native tongue, leaving behind a literary estate that is today a precious discovery for both Korean and Korean American literary critics and historians. The Thun Archive became part of the collections of USC’s East Asian Library in 2004. Comprised of three long novels, six short stories, and six essays, the Archive is of intrinsic literary interest and also offers an unprecedented window on the experience of Korean immigrants in Southern California at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Featured at KCCLA will be three presentations that address respectively the history, the contents, and the significance of the Thun Archive. Kenneth Klein (Former Director, USC East Asian Library) will offer a personal account of how the Thun Archive came to be part of the collections at the USC Libraries. Jae-moon Hwang (Associate Professor, Kyujanggak Institute of Seoul National University) will both introduce the Archive’s contents and report on his editing of Thun’s selected writings. Finally, Kyunghee Eo (Assistant Professor, University of Colorado) will place the Archive in the context of the history of the early Korean American immigration to Southern California. Moderating the event will be Sunyoung Park (Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures, USC), who has been coordinating the collaborative research on the Thun archive since 2017.

Presenters: Khyunghee Eo (Assistant Professor of Korean, University of Colorado Boulder); Jae-moon Hwang (Associate Professor in Korean Literature, Kyujanggak Institute at Seoul National University); Kenneth Klein (Former Director of USC’s East Asian Library); Sunyoung Park (Associate Professor in East Asian Languages and Cultures, USC)

6:30-7:00 pm Reception

7:00-7:10 pm Sunyoung Park, Opening Remarks

7:10-7:30 pm Kenneth Klein, “Rescuing Memory: Korean American Archives at USC”

7:30-7:50 pm Jae-moon Hwang, “An Editorial Overview of Nak Chung Thun’s Manuscripts”

7:50-8:10 pm Kyunghee Eo, selected readings of Thun’s translated stories and essays

8:10-8:30 pm Q & A moderated by Sunyoung Park

*RSVP Required / Inquiries: young@kccla.org