« Voluntary and Forced Migration before and during the Korean War, 1945-1953 » & « The Policies, Practices, and Limits of Korean War Relief, Reconstruction, and Resettlement »

Le 25 mai 2012,

dans le cadre du séminaire pluridiscilinaire du CRC,

Janice Kim, invitée de l’EHESS

 (York University, Toronto, Canada)

donnera 2 conférences :

à 14h-16h, « Voluntary and Forced Migration before and during the Korean War, 1945-1953 »


à 16h-18h, « The Policies, Practices, and Limits of Korean War Relief, Reconstruction, and Resettlement »

au Grand Salon,

Maison de l’Asie, 22 avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 16e.

Consultez le programme de conférences CR


Voluntary and Forced Migration before and during the Korean War, 1945-1953

Roughly a third of the South Korean population experienced flight and displacement, yet images of refugees tend to portray war migrants as undifferentiated figures rather than as historically and contextually specific groups and individuals.  Therefore, the purpose of this presentation is to provide an introductory overview of the broad contours of civilian migration during the war.  Because the Korean War was part and parcel of the colonial past, the division of the peninsula, and the establishment of separate regimes, I define forced migration, or movement resulting from civil conflict, as a development that began in 1945 and ended in the mid-to-late 1950s.  I examine the experiences of civilian migrants in the various stages of the conflict in hopes that surveying the structural differences encountered by the numerous groups of refugees will illuminate how war and disorder affected civilians during the war and after.  First, I outline how anticipatory refugees were generated by liberation from Japanese colonization and the formation of the North and South Korean states.  Second, I explore the conditions of those internally displaced after the outbreak of the war on June 25, 1950 to the recapturing of Seoul on September 28, 1950.  Third, I elaborate on the circumstances of the acute refugees and internally displaced of what is known as “ilsa hut’oe” or the January 4th retreat including the acute refugees from North Korea who began fleeing in November 1950 and residents of South Korea who evacuated their residences from mid-December 1950 to the early months of 1951. In exploring the broad history of non-combatant movements and experiences, I hope to individuate and complicate popular understandings of refugees that often generalize and massify what the Korean War meant to the civilian population.

The Policies, Practices, and Limits of Korean War Relief, Reconstruction, and Resettlement

This presentation discusses the policies, practices, and limitations of relief, reconstruction, and resettlement projects of the Korean War (1950-1953).  First, I analyze the evacuee relief system: its policies, practices, and limits.  The UN Command installed refugee shelters, provided aid, and instituted systems of migrant registration but these efforts were not necessarily established for the purpose of relieving civilian suffering.  Relief measures sought to deal with some of the most consistent tactical problems caused by noncombatants by defining who was displaced, controlling these people’s mobility, and surveying their activities.  The provision of wartime relief also did not translate into its effectiveness or adequacy.  In early February 1951, the Ministry of Social Affairs reported that only 25% of an estimated 3 million refugees could be cared for under relief programs.  Second, I evaluate the conditions of war sufferers and the scale and meaning of reconstruction, resettlement, and the general impoverishment brought on by the war. Reconstruction and return were challenging but the most difficult was resettlement.  The pressures created by the presence of evacuees was enormous within the receiving community, whether the region of first asylum or that of permanent resettlement. Economically, the demand for services taxed already overburdened governments; culturally, the presence of outsiders exacerbated tense social relations within the community.  Politically, migrants triggered domestic discontent. Diverging from the victorious claims coming from both sides of the demilitarized zone, a close examination of survivors’ lives reveals the stark and painful social effects of war.

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