A Tale of Two Cities: The Struggle Between Gangnam and Gangbuk from the founding of Seoul to the Present

The City of Seoul consists of two competing cultural elements known as Gangbuk, "North of the River" and Gangnam "South of the River." Although it is clear that the brash Gangnam of Psy represents a strident voice that stands in opposition to the more subtle and communal culture of the North side, in fact the two cultures are often mixed together within the same space. Also, we can trace this cultural dichotomy back to the colonial period, and even back to the founding of the city of Seoul in the 14th century. This talk presents the two cultural genealogies in a compelling and slightly irreverent manner for a general audience.

Emanuel Pastreich serves as a professor at Kyung Hee University’s College of International Studies and as the director of the Asia Institute in Seoul, Korea. He served as the director of the KORUS House (2005-2007), a policy think tank operated in the embassy of the Republic of Korea in Washington D.C. and as editor-in-chief of Dynamic Korea, an on-line newspaper produced by the Korean foreign ministry. Pastreich is active in the internationalization of local government in Korea. Starting with his work as adviser to the governor of Chungnam Provence from 2007, he has advised the mayor of Daejeon, the mayor of Gwangju and the president of the Daedeok Innopolis Research cluster. He currently works closely with Seoul City.


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