Curative Violence: Rehabilitating Disability, Gender, and Sexuality in Modern Korea
The chapter examines the case of Hansen’s disease (leprosy), which is regularly situated in the past. The political aspects of the disease’s cure and its cultural history reveal the process of removing sick bodies from domestic space during the colonial era, thereby reshaping the family exclusively for the able-bodied. In a propaganda film made in the 1960s, the medical treatment for the famous poet Han Ha-un provided in an American-run institution is represented as a gateway into a heterosexual union. The marriage between a former male patient and an uninfected woman continues to appear as a symbol of the healing of historical trauma and individual stigma. A more comprehensive understanding of the cultural and social elements of the stigmatization of Hansen’s disease, and of its historical interconnections with other disabilities and illnesses, is required to explore the possibility of a livable life without violence.