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ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)
S/N Korean Humanities Vol.4 No.1 pp.15-34

Present Performativity of the Traumatic Memories of Koryŏin in Kazakhstan

Kim Jong-Gon
Institute of Humanities for Unification, Konkuk University


This paper, first of all, re-reads the memory of the 1937 deportation endured by the Koryŏin in Kazakhstan from the aspect of it being a traumatic memory. The aim is to see how the memory of deportation constructs into traumatic memory that is repeatedly summoned to the present rather than just remain in the past. In this paper, the deportation is seen as an incident that drove the Koryŏin out to the world of dehumanization where human vulnerabilities become revealed and forced them to live in constant innate fear afterwards. However, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the late 1980’s, Koryŏin, rather than forget their past history of deportation, forged their own collective memory and is performing the act of remaining in mourning. I argue that, through such process, the remembering can act as a call for universal human rights to be guaranteed for all ethnic groups in Kazakhstan, against the backdrop of Kazakh-centralism becoming more entrenched.