“A Tale of Two Cities: Seoul as the Byzantium of the 21st Century” @ Yonsei University, May 15


Emanuel Yi Pastreich

Associate Professor
College of International Studies, Kyung Hee University
Director, The Asia Institute

“A Tale of Two Cities: Seoul as the Byzantium of the 21st Century”

Friday, May 15, 6 PM
Room 107

New Millennium Hall

Yonsei University

Seoul has emerged at the center of a new economic and cultural order in East Asia and this massive city is increasingly making its presence felt around the world through its music, art, fashion and movies. Could it be that Seoul is becoming the dominant political and cultural center of Asia while remaining closely tied to the United States?  Seoul’s rise brings to mind the relationship between Rome and Byzantium in another age.

This talk considers the competing cultural identities of Seoul: Gangnam (South of the river) whose brash spirit is embodied in Psy’s hit song and Gangbuk (North of the River) a subtle urban space of tight-knit urban communities. How has the tension between these two cultures stimulated cultural production in Seoul and driven the cities evolution even from its founding in the late fourteenth century? What are the prospects for Seoul’s cultural future?

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