Writer and Film Maker Highlight Asian Studies Plenary

NEW PALTZ — Korean perspectives will highlight two plenary session at the New York Conference on Asian Studies annual conference on the campus of the State University of New York at New Paltz on October 15-17. The theme for this year’s conference is “Issues of Responsibility in Asia.” The New York Conference on Asian Studies is the oldest of the eight regional conferences of the Association for Asian Studies, the largest organization of its kind in the world.

The plenary session on the morning of October 16 will feature Heinz Insu Fenkl, author of Memories of My Ghost Brother: The Rhetoric of Autobiographical “Fiction,” and Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, documentary film maker and writer. Fenkl will speak at 9 a.m. and Kim- Gibson will talk at 11a.m. Both lectures will be held in Lecture Center 100.

Heinz Insu Fenkl will read from his haunting and lyrical autobiographical novel that explores the coming of age of an Amerasian boy in Korea, torn between his mother’s world– haunted by the specter of Japanese occupations and ruled by the imperatives of the spirit kingdom–and his father’s transplanted America–the local U.S. army base–where soldiers are preparing for combat in Vietnam.

Fenkl will also talk about how he moved from cultural anthropology and ethnographic writing toward the construction of a rhetorical fiction while in the process of writing his autobiography.

Dai Sil Kim-Gibson will relate her experiences in gathering first-hand accounts from Korean victims of the Japanese military during the Asia/Pacific War and transforming their stories into a documentary for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Sequences from this documentary will be shown.

Kim-Gibson’s previous documentaries have been widely acclaimed, receiving numerous awards. In 1993, she completed “Sa-I-gu: From Korean Women’s Perspectives,” an examination of the 1992 Los Angeles riots from the perspectives of Korean women shopkeepers. More recently, her film, “A Forgotten People: The Sakhalin Koreans,” was broadcast on both PBS and internationally on the Discovery Channel. The latter tells the story of Koreans who were taken to Sakhalin Island by the Japanese as forced laborers to support the Imperial war effort and then were abandoned by a defeated Japan, only to be made to serve a new master, the Soviet Union.

Recently, Kim-Gibson moved from Washington D.C. to New Paltz where she continues her film editing at home.

For information about conference registration and costs, contact the Office of Conference Services at (845)257-3033.

Additional information about the conference can be found on their web site at http://www.newpaltz.edu/asianstudies/nycas98.html or by contacting either Marleigh Grayer Ryan at (845)257-3494 or Ronald G. Knapp at (845)257-2996/2995.