CKS Symposium: Cho Chongnae and the Human Jungle

Cho Chongnae and the Human Jungle

Korean Literature on the Global Stage

November 18, 2016
DATES November 18, 2016
LOCATION David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA
SPONSOR/S Center for Korean Studies

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Poster | Program


Join us for a symposium on Korean literature with Cho Chongnae, one of Korea’s most important living writers best known for his epic historical novels. Come meet the author and get your copy of the English-translated work The Human Jungle signed.

Book Available for Signing:

The Human Jungle

Equal parts muckraking novel, transnational love story, and socially engaged panorama, The Human Jungle portrays China on the verge of becoming the world’s dominant economic force. Against a backdrop of rapidly morphing urban landscapes, readers meet migrant workers, Korean manufacturers out to save a few bucks, high-flying venture capitalists, street thugs, and shakedown artists. The picture of China that emerges is at turns unsettling, awe-inspiring, and heart-breaking. Cho Chongnae deftly portrays a giant awakening to its own raw, volatile, and often uncontrollable power. Translators Bruce Fulton and Ju-Chan Fulton have condensed three of Cho’s Korean novels, each of which sold more than one million copies in South Korea, into this single English-language edition.


2:00-2:20 Opening Remarks: Clare You

“Cho Chŏngnae in the New Millennium: How in Heaven’s Name and The Human Jungle”
Bruce Fulton (University of British Columbia)

“The Makers of Modern Korea: Ordinary People"
Bruce Cumings (University of Chicago)

“The Mount T’aebaek (T’aebaek Sanmaek) and Social Memory of the Korean War”
Namhee Lee (UCLA)

4:20-4:50 Coffee Break

A Dialogue with Cho Chongnae
Moderators: Bruce Fulton, Youngmin Kwon
Interpreter: Yu Jung Kim

6:30-7:30 Reception and Book Signing


Cho Chongnae
Cho Chongnae is one of Korea’s most important living writers. Born in 1943 to a nationalist father who actively opposed Japan’s colonial rule of Korea (1910-1945), Cho has dedicated his writing life to illuminating modern Korea’s conflicted history. He debuted with the story “Calumny” (Numyŏng) in Hyŏndae munhak magazine in 1970. In 1981 he received the twenty-seventh Modern Literature Award in 1981 for “Land of Exile” (Yuhyŏng ŭi ttang) and has since been honored with numerous other literary prizes and awards.

As a writer, Cho expresses a belief in the value and dignity of human life and strives to relate the life of the individual to the flow of history. He is particularly concerned with the twin impacts of war and division on the Korean spirit and with the connection between such events and Korea’s social history. Cho’s people are frequently the unfortunate victims of Korea’s history, both ancient and recent.

The ten-volume, 1.25-million-word roman fleuve, The T’aebaek Mountains (T’aebaek sanmaek), was followed by two other historical epics, the 12-volume Arirang and the 10-volume The Han River. Arirang is set during the colonial period (1910-1945) and The Han River, utilizing the post-Liberation period and the Korean War as points of departure, covers contemporary Korean history. Together these three works constitute a panorama of twentieth-century Korean history. Some 16 million copies of these novels have been sold — a record in Korean publishing.

Clare You, UC Berkeley
Clare You taught and coordinated the Korean language program at UC Berkeley and also served as Chair of the Center for Korean Studies. She is the recipient of the Korean Silver Medal of Culture in recognition of her contributions to Korean education abroad and cultural exchanges between Korea and the United States. She has also co-authored Korean textbooks and translated Korean poems, short stories, essays, and research articles into English. Many of her translations have appeared in magazines and journals in the United States and South Korea.

Bruce Fulton, University of British Columbia
Bruce Fulton is the inaugural holder of the Young-Bin Min Chair in Korean Literature and Literary Translation, Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia. He is the co-translator, with Ju-Chan Fulton, of numerous works of modern Korean fiction; co-editor with Youngmin Kwon of Modern Korean Fiction (Columbia University Press, 2005), editor of the Korea section of the Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature (2003); and general editor of the Modern Korean Fiction series published by the University of Hawai’i Press. He is the co-recipient of several translation awards and grants, including the first National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship for a Korean literary work, and the first residency awarded by the Banff International Literary Translation Centre for the translation of a work from any Asian language. He is the translator with Ju-Chan Fulton of Cho Chongnae’s novel Chŏnggŭl malli, published in English as The Human Jungle (Chin Music Press, 2016).

Bruce Cumings, University of Chicago
Bruce Cumings’s research and teaching focus on modern Korean history, twentieth-century international history, US–East Asian relations, East Asian political economy, and American foreign relations. His first book, The Origins of the Korean War, won the John King Fairbank Book Award of the American Historical Association, and the second volume of this study won the Quincy Wright Book Award of the International Studies Association. He is the editor of the modern volume of the Cambridge History of Korea (forthcoming), and is a frequent contributor to the London Review of Books, The Nation, Current History, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and Le Monde Diplomatique. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999 and is the recipient of fellowships from the Ford Foundation, NEH, the MacArthur Foundation, the Center for Advanced Study at Stanford, and the Abe Fellowship Program of the Social Science Research Council. He was also the principal historical consultant for the Thames Television/PBS 6-hour documentary, Korea: The Unknown War. In 2003 he won the University of Chicago's award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, and in 2007 he won the Kim Dae Jung Prize for Scholarly Contributions to Democracy, Human Rights and Peace. He has just completed Dominion From Sea to Sea: Pacific Ascendancy and American Power, which will be published by Yale University Press. He is working on a synoptic single-volume study of the origins of the Korean War, and a book on the Northeast Asian political economy.

Namhee Lee, UCLA
Namhee Lee is Professor of Modern Korean History at UCLA. Her publications include The Making of Minjung: Democracy and the Politics of Representation in South Korea (Cornell University Press, 2007). She is currently working on a book project entitled “Social Memory and Public History in South Korea,” which explores production of historical knowledge outside established academic institutions in the last three decades, examining the debates, tensions, and exchanges generated from historical novels, films exhibitions, festivals, historical restorations, and other civic movements.

Yu Jung Kim, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Yu Jung Kim is a graduate student at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey where she studies translation, interpretation, and localization project management. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2015 with a B.A. in History.

Youngmin Kwon, UC Berkeley
Youngmin Kwon is currently Adjunct Professor of Korean Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at UC Berkeley. He is also Emeritus Professor of Seoul National University and Chair Professor of Korean Literature at Dankook University.


Please visit Google Maps for directions to the David Brower Center.

Closest parking to David Brower Center:
The Oxford Garage, an underground parking facility located at 2165 Kittredge Street (West of Oxford Street) is beneath the Oxford Plaza/David Brower Center complex, with pedestrian access from Allston Way, Oxford Street, and Kittredge Street. Please note that the Brower Center does not own or operate the Oxford Garage.

During the reconstruction of the Center Street Garage, attendant "stack parking" will be offered at the Oxford Garage between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. At these locations, patrons will be directed to double park behind occupied parking stalls, and leave their keys with the attendants before continuing on to their destinations. Bicycle parking/racks are provided in the north section of the garage. There is no charge for bicycle parking.

Other area parking lots are nearby. For more information, please visit the City of Berkeley’s Off-Street Parking Information.