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Framed by WarKorean Children and Women at the Crossroads of US Empire$
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Susie Woo

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479889914

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479889914.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Cold War Empire

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Framed by War
Author(s):

Susie Woo

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479889914.003.0001

The introduction establishes the question at the heart of this book: How did Korean women and children become critical to the making of US empire in the early Cold War? It begins by situating Korea in the longer trajectory of US empire, which dates back centuries before US occupation of South Korea in 1945. Focusing on how children and intimacy historically played a role in empire building, the chapter describes how during the Korean War family frames were deployed to transform devastation into a tale of salvation, a cultural reconfiguration that enabled America’s reach to the Pacific. Yet Americans who anchored this project soon put internationalism into practice in ways that exceeded government intentions. Initially heralded for their humanitarian efforts, US servicemen, missionaries, and philanthropists transformed a rescue project over there into an immigration problem over here. Pushing to permanently bring Korean women and children into the United States, they were responsible for a return of empire that disrupted existing US gatekeeping policies and the domestic racial status quo. The introduction places the book in conversation with the fields of postcolonial studies, American studies, Asian American studies, critical adoption studies, and critical refugee studies to better understand these transnational processes.

Keywords:   US-Korea relations, US empire, Cold War, internationalism, family, children, intimacy, immigration, race

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