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This chapter turns to an analysis of transcolonial roundtables. This chapter demonstrates the ways in which the roundtable effects a staged intimacy and informality that are coupled with authority (the joint appearance of well-known figures) even as colonizer-colonized encounters remain anxiety ridden in multiple ways. The chapter frames the analysis of the colonial-period roundtable format in terms of a postcolonial “overhearing,” in which the reader is really at once insider, listening to the conversation, and outsider, distant in both space and time from the roundtable performance itself. The chapter links the performativity of the roundtable to The Tale of Ch’unhyang (discussed in chapter 6) both on the level of content and as performance. These two events, then, provide important examples, embodied instances, of the performing of and mutual negotiation with the location of Korean culture (including issues of translation and language policy) in relation to wartime assimiliationism and imperialization.

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