“Your body will remember”: Emotional traveling and transnational solidarity for the redress of geopolitical violence

Authors: Soohyung Hur*, University of Washington
Topics: Political Geography, Tourism Geography
Keywords: emotion, transnational solidarity, feminist geopolitics, Asia, travel
Session Type: Virtual Paper
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This paper brings together emotional scholarship rooted in feminist struggles and feminist geopolitics to examine travel initiatives that aim to foster transnational solidarity among war-violence survivors. It explores the liberatory potential and limits of justice-oriented travel to trouble racial formations that rest upon geopolitical histories as well as notions of a collective ‘we’ as geopolitically defined. Specifically, this paper examines grassroots solidarity efforts budding since 2013 between two groups: South Korean survivors, and their allies, of a sexual slavery system implemented by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II and Vietnamese survivors, and their allies, of massacres and gender-based violence perpetrated by Korean soldiers during the VietNam War. I focus on one particularly striking component of these efforts: an annual trip to VietNam composed of allies of Korean war-violence survivors. On these trips, a team of allies, participants of which fluctuates each year, visits sites of
memorialization and meets with Vietnamese survivors. The trips are decidedly geographical and emotional, as they are intended to invoke learning and visceral feelings by physically being present in a place. I utilize interviews and textual analysis to unravel the complicated relationship between travel and resistance and argue that emotions arising from these trips provide critical
insights that can destabilize geopolitical logics.

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