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Religion, Emotion, SensationAffect Theories and Theologies$
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Karen Bray and Stephen D. Moore

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823285679

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823285679.001.0001

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Weeping by the Water: Hydraulic Affects and Political Depression in South Korea after Sewol

Weeping by the Water: Hydraulic Affects and Political Depression in South Korea after Sewol

Chapter:
(p.110) Weeping by the Water: Hydraulic Affects and Political Depression in South Korea after Sewol
Source:
Religion, Emotion, Sensation
Author(s):

Dong Sung Kim

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823285679.003.0006

Sewol names both the senseless mass drowning of schoolchildren in a 2014 ferry disaster off the southwest coast of South Korea and its abiding affective impact on the South Korean population and diaspora. Anchoring itself in the tide of emotion washing from the broadcasted images of Pangmok Harbor where families and friends wept and awaited news of lost loved ones, but also reactivating the image from Psalm 137 of earlier weeping by another body of water (“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion…”), this essay explores the affective possibilities of water as an elemental archive or repository of emotion beyond the constricting confines of the national. The essay also argues that a generalized concept of affect will not suffice to do justice to Sewol. A Korean tragedy evokes a Korean affect, and that affect the essay locates in the Korean concept of Han.

Keywords:   affect theory, Han, political depression, Psalm 137, Sewol ferry disaster

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