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ask what kind of transformative politics is enacted when we name the deaths

of those considered unworthy of mourning and remembering.

Jinah Kim, Postcolonial Grief, (1).


We Read Joseph Han's Nuclear Family: A Novel (2022)

September 13, 2022

Heung members Chloe, Kris, and Justin talk about Joseph Han’s novel, Nuclear Family (2022). They discuss the novel’s use of ghosts, memory, and diasporic narratives in relation to histories of imperialism, colonialism, and Korea’s ongoing Cold War. The novel follows the story of the Cho family, members of the Korean diaspora living in the Hawaiian Islands. The novel takes place during the days leading up to the 2018 false missile alert when the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency erroneously issued a warning for a nuclear ballistic missile inbound for Hawai’i amidst heightened tensions between the DPRK and United States. Jacob, one of the central members of the Cho family, experiences a haunting and turns to Korean shamanistic practices to understand and deal with the ghost of his grandfather, Taewoo. Living in Hawai’i, the Cho family is also confronted with their role as settlers on indigenous land. The three Heung members relay some of the moments and themes from the book that resonated with their own experience. They discuss what the novel and its themes have to do with Heung’s mission of (re)defining Korea(ness) from a leftist, transnational perspective.

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Contact the podcast at: heungcoalitionpodcast@gmail.com

Music by Hellking

Art by @grime_ninja

Episode transcript coming soon.