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The 1948 Jeju Uprising and Massacre:

Perspectives on U.S. Policy, Historical Memory, and Reconciliation

Walden Korea invites you to our very first International strategic forum “The 1948 Jeju Uprising and Massacre: Perspective on U.S. Policy, Historical Memory, and Reconciliation.”

The “Jeju 4.3 Uprising,” as it is known in Korea, is a great tragedy in modern history, in which more than 30,000 people were killed. Despite the uprising and the brutal crackdown having taken place under the auspices of the U.S. Military Government in Korea that governed southern Korea from September 1945 to August 1948, the incident is rarely taught and virtually unknown in American society. The Biden administration's catchphrase, “reconciliation,” should also be applied to U.S.-Korea historical reconciliation in the context of seeking the values of justice, peace, and human rights. Since the U.S. Military Government is culpable in this tragedy, in order to achieve genuine reconciliation, the United States should issue a statement of apology.

"The Jeju 4.3 Uprising was the third atomic bomb dropped by the United States," said Hyun Ki-Young, a South Korean writer. Considering the 4.3 Uprising, in which at least 30,000 people were slaughtered and 130 villages were incinerated, it is like the third atomic bombing by the United States, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but, ironically, on the civilian population of a non-enemy, client state.

The Jeju 4.3 Uprising predates the outbreak of the Korean War and marks the start of the ideological struggle, known as the Cold War, in East Asia. This forum addresses questions on how to approach the Jeju 4.3 Uprising as an historical discourse of broad interest and seek redress from the United States government. The forum seeks to unveil key questions on what went wrong—to what extent South Korea’s Syngman Rhee government and the U.S Military Government in Korea are responsible—and explore some salient aspects of the literature of resistance in Korea.

This forum is co-hosted by the Memorial Committee for the Jeju April 3rd Uprising and Massacre. It is co-sponsored by the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, Korean School of New England.


Prof. Alex Taek-Gwang Lee Kyung Hee University

Alex Taek-Gwang Lee is a professor at the Department of British and American Cultural Studies and a founding director of the Center for Technology in Humanities, Kyung Hee University, South Korea. He was invited as a visiting professor at the Centre for Culture Media, and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia University, India, and an international visiting scholar at Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taiwan. He is a member of the advisory board for The International Deleuze and Guattari Studies in Asia and the board member of The International Consortium of Critical Theory (ICCT) as well as Asia Theory Network (ATN). He edited the third volume of The Idea of Communism (2016) and published articles in various journals such as Telos, Deleuze, and Guattari Studies and Philosophy Today and chapters in Back to the ’30s': Recurring Crises of Capitalism, Liberalism and Democracy (2020) and Balibar/Wallerstein’s “Race, Nation, Class”: Rereading a Dialogue for Our Times (2018).

Prof. David McCann

Harvard University

David McCann, the Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature, received his B.A. from Amherst College, taught English for two years in Korea in the Peace Corps, and received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard. He has published twenty-four books: anthologies, studies on Korean literary culture, translations of the poets Sowol, Pak Chaesam, Kim Chi Ha, Ko Un, Kim Namjo, and So Chongju, as well as four collections of his own poetry. His work in the field of Korean literature has been recognized by the Manhae Prize in 2004, and the Korean Culture Order of Merit in 2006.

His current work explores the performance functions of literature during periods of cultural confrontation, the case-study functions of historical compilations, and other features of Korean literature and literary culture.

Prof. Sung-Yoon Lee

The Fletcher School at Tufts University

Sung-Yoon Lee, Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies and Assistant Professor, teaches courses on Korea and U.S.-East Asia relations. He is a former research fellow with the National Asia Research Program, a joint initiative by the National Bureau of Asia Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and former associate in research at the Korea Institute, Harvard University.

In 2005, he launched at Harvard's Korea Institute a new seminar series, the Kim Koo Forum on U.S.–Korea Relations. He has taught courses on Korean political history at Bowdoin College (2000), Sogang University (2007), and Seoul National University (2012-2015). His opeds have been published multiple times in The Hill, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Asia Times, etc. Lee is a frequent commentator on major international broadcast networks, including BBC, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, PRI, etc., and has testified as an expert witness at U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearings on North Korea policy. In 2013, the Guardian called Lee "[a]mong the most insightful and prescient chroniclers."

Ms.Suyeon Yang

Chairwoman of Jeju 4.3 Memorial and Victim Families Association of the U.S.

Founder of Walden Korea

Suyeon Yang is a polymathic journalist, activist. She established the Jeju 4.3 Memorial and Victim Families Association of the U.S.( and Walden Korea( in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, to remember state violence and spread human rights values and peace and environmental appreciation. She is conducting international forums, history lectures, and creating English language journals through these organizations. She lost her grandfather and two uncles in the 4.3 incident. The tragedy remains a significant trauma in her family history. Her goal is to reveal the truth of the 4.3 incident to the United States and receive an apology from the U.S. government.

Ms. Yang served as the Editor-in-Chief of Korean American Press in Boston, and NewsM magazine in New York. Ms. Yang won the New England Media Awards in 2008 and the National American Media Award in 2009. Her Korean articles are currently available through Sisain, one of the top current affairs magazines in Korea.

Walden Korea Planning Members

Yuna Kim Johns Hopkins University

HyungJin Kim Northeastern University

An Hye An Johns Hopkins University

Jeong Hyun Kim Kyunghee University

Jangha Cho Kyunghee University

Catherine Yang Boston College

Yujin Lee Johns Hopkins University

Naeun Lee Korea International School Jeju

Sohee Yang Sogang University The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea

Roslyn Lee Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences


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