Conference In Review
Hallyu 2.0: The Korean Wave in the Age of Social Media
On April 6, 2012, the Nam Center for Korean Studies at the University of Michigan hosted an international conference entitled “Hallyu 2.0: The Korean Wave in the Age of Social Media.” Thirteen participants from Israel, Argentina, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, and the United States gathered to present their new research, exchange fresh and innovative thoughts and ideas, and get to know each other in both academic and casual settings.
The conference sought to define a new trend in Hallyu research by overcoming the methodology of the existing research on the subject, and by sounding out transnational circulations and receptions of Korean popular culture through the new medium of social media. This intensive one-day conference was composed of four distinctive but interrelated panels: conceptualizing Hallyu 2.0, K-pop reconsidered, cultural-industrial geography of Hallyu, and Hallyu 2.0 and its discontents. Each participant persuasively argued that Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and myriad social networking websites as well as illegitimate/legitimate online video streaming services have boosted the dissemination of Korea’s popular media contents to regions where traditional media had never reached before. For the last several years, as a consequence, Korean TV dramas and variety shows, films, online games and popular songs have rapidly been spreading to and accepted by an increasing number of youths with various ethnic and national backgrounds around the world.
Overall, the conference served two distinct purposes. First and foremost, it brought together film, media, literature, communication, musicology and sociology scholars from six countries to present and discuss their latest research. Secondly, the conference theme – Hallyu 2.0 in the age of social media– stressed core trends in contemporary research in the field of Korean cinema, media and popular culture studies, approaching the topic from interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives. Presenters came from various disciplines and national backgrounds, incorporating their knowledge and experiences into their research. The conference also attracted a large crowd of students, faculty, and other guests from many different states and cities, and it has received overwhelmingly positive feedback because of the atmosphere which allowed for open exchange and the opportunities to discuss and network.
The Nam Center for Korean Studies is committed to making the conference more than just a one-time event. For this purpose, it plans to contribute conference results, by topic, and publish the proceedings in the form of an online journal and edited volume through a major academic publisher in the United States. The conference organizers hope that the conference and its academic results will trigger full-scale research on Hallyu 2.0 in North America. Finally, the conference organizers would like to express a deep appreciation to the Academy of Korean Studies for its active support since the preparatory phase of this conference.