Koreans and Camptowns: Mixed-Race Adoptees and Camptown Connections

Posted in Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-11-04 02:36Z by Steven

Koreans and Camptowns: Mixed-Race Adoptees and Camptown Connections

David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way
Berkeley, California 94704
2015-09-26, 09:00-17:00 PDT (Local Time)

In cooperation with the Center for Korean Studies, University of California, Berkeley, we were excited to host a one-day conference to learn more about the camptowns that developed alongside American military bases in Korea during and after the Korean War. The conference spotlighted the intersection of American military presence and Korean society, focusing on exploring the lives of people who lived in the camptowns and the historical context surrounding the overseas adoption of thousands of mixed-race children. We will be sharing conference highlights as they become available. Be sure to check back.

For more information, click here.

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Pure mixed blood: The multiple identities of Amerasians in South Korea

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2011-09-02 22:17Z by Steven

Pure mixed blood: The multiple identities of Amerasians in South Korea

Indiana University
February 2007
256 pages
Publication Number: AAT 3253643

Sue-Je Lee Gage, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Ithaca University

Submitted to the faculty of the University Graduate School in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of  Anthropology, Indiana University

Political and social currents play a role in how identities are ascribed and claimed by Amerasians in South Korea. Amerasians continue to be racialized as “other” within a set of desirable and undesirable qualities. Attitudes are complicated by the effects of globalization, especially the temporary immigration of US military personnel and guest workers, as well as current fashion and aesthetic trends. Within the context of a diversifying Korea, the very nature of “Amerasian” (American and Asian) and “Kosian” (Korean and South Asian) call into question notions of purity and race within the assumed ethnonation of Korea. How “pure” is pure when it comes to people and identity? In what ways do perceived appearances affect experiences?

Many Amerasians subscribe to a presumed racial hierarchy incorporated and contextualized in the countries of their births from a western perspective on “race” in their own identity ascription and claiming. However, this hierarchy is neither simple nor fixed. It is complicated by perceptions and notions of “race” and what it means to be “human.” Class, gender, generation, English-speaking ability, appearance/beauty, parentage, education, and social support networks and organization affiliations also influence attitudes and perceptions. My research examines the local, global, and historical reasons that contribute to the ways Amerasians are perceived, as well as the ways they perceive themselves, including the on-going racial/ethnic/political dialogue within Korea and between Korea, the United States, and the international community.


  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • List of illustrations and appendixes
  • Note to Reader
  • CHAPTER 1. Introduction
    • Methodology
    • Theory
    • Overview of the Book
  • Part I: The Thick and Thin of Blood
    • CHAPTER 2. Minjok and the History of Korean Nationalism
      • Pre-Modern Context and Early Korean Interactions with the West
      • Nationalist Movements and the Articulation of Identities
      • US-ROK Relation
      • The More Recent Period
      • Conclusion
    • CHAPTER 3. Racing Self and Otherness in South Korea
      • Racing the Korean Self
      • Representations
      • Racing the Other in Korea
      • Globalization
      • Conclusion
    • CHAPTER 4. The “Amerasian Problem”: Blood, Duty, and Race
      • Representations of Amerasian Identity in the United States
      • Transnational Advocacy Networks Prior to the 1980s
      • Amerasian Policy Formation
      • Conclusion
  • Part II: The Purity of Mixed Blood
    • CHAPTER 5. Living “Amerasian”
      • The Legacy of a Name: Looking “American,” Feeling “Korean”
      • American Names & Korean Names
      • Marriage & Breeding Out Amerasian Blood
      • Amerasian Entertainers & Celebrities
      • “Our Country” & Patriotism
      • Redefining and Claiming Amerasian Identity
      • Conclusion
    • CHAPTER 6. “We Want What Everybody Else Wants, to Live”
      • Human Rights, International Community & Globalization
      • From “other” to “Other
      • Immigrating to the US – Why and Why not?
      • Conclusion
  • Part III: Globalizing Blood – Intersections and Conclusion
    • CHAPTER 7. Conclusion: Pure Mixed Blood
    • CHAPTER 8. Afterward: Feeling the Want of Something More – ashwiwŏ hada
  • Epilogue
  • Appendix A Glossary
  • Appendix B Illustrations
  • Bibliography
  • Curriculum Vitae


  • Figure 1.1 US Military Map of Korea. Highlights the major US military installations – Camp Casey in Tongduch’on, Osan Airbase near Pyongt’aek.
  • Figure 1.2 Kyonggi Province (Gyeonggi-do) – Includes Tongduch’on to the north of Seoul, Seoul, and Pyongt’aek to the south of Seoul.
  • Figure 1.3 Shalom House Building
  • Figure 3.1 Korea Special Tourism sign – “This Facility is for Foreigners, Tourists, and US Soldiers Stationed in Korea Only.”
  • Figure 3.2 Club Proof of Inspection by the Second Infantry, US Army in Tongduch’on – “Cheer” is handwritten on the label on the right corner.
  • Figure 3.3 Korea Special Tourism Association Club. Exchange Bank located on the Right Side of the Club.
  • Figure 3.4 Tongduch’on’s Kijich’on
  • Figure 3.5 Molly Holt
  • Figure 3.6 Director Woo, Sun-duk and Two Women Working in the Clubs
  • Figure 3.7 Advertisement for Whitening Lotion for Men
  • Figure 4.1 St. Vincent’s Home Sign
  • Figure 5.1 I am Korean
  • Figure 5.2 I am Korean
  • Figure 5.3 We are Korean
  • Figure 5.4 We are Korean
  • Figure 5.5 I am Korean
  • Figure 5.6 We are Korean
  • Figure 5.7 I am Korean
  • Figure 5.8 We are Korean
  • Figure 5.9 We are Korean
  • Figure 5.10 Pearl S. Buck Summer Camp 2002, Picture Taken at the Blue House
  • Figure 5.11 Mrs. Chung Rodrigues
  • Figure 5.12 Mrs. and Mr. Kang
  • Figure 6.1 ACA Students
  • Figure 6.2 Sports Day
  • Figure 6.3 Durihana ACA Logo
  • Figure 6.4 Marriage and Visa Center in Itaewon
  • Figure 7.1 The Right to Experience Life
  • Figure 8.1 Dance Therapy at Sunlit Sisters’ Center
  • Figure 8.2 Family and Me in Tongduch’on
  • Figure 8.3 Family in Tongduch’on
  • Figure 8.4 Family in Anjong-ri
  • Figure 8.5 Family and Me in Anjong-ri
  • Figure 9.1 Baby Buddhas


  • Appendix A Glossary
  • Appendix B Illustrations
  • Appendix C Map of Tongduch’on with Legend of Clubs and Shops

Purchase the dissertation here.

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Dr. Sue-Je Gage to be Featured Guest on Mixed Chicks Chat

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Audio, Interviews, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2010-10-21 00:39Z by Steven

Dr. Sue-Je Gage to be Featured Guest on Mixed Chicks Chat

Mixed Chicks Chat (The only live weekly show about being racially and culturally mixed. Also, founders of the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival) Hosted by Fanshen Cox and Heidi W. Durrow
Website: TalkShoe™ (Keywords: Mixed Chicks)
Episode: #178 – Dr. Sue-Je Gage
When: Thursday, 2010-11-04, 21:00Z (17:00 EDT, 16:00 CDT, 14:00 PDT)

Sue-Je Gage, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Ithaca University

Dr Gage’s specific research focuses on citizenship, identity, blood, gender and transnationalism by examining the identities of Amerasians in South Korea. It explores how Amerasians as local, national and global citizens identify themselves and strategically use their identities to maneuver within Korean society and the globalizing world.

Download or listen to the podcast here.

Selected Bibliography:

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Who Counts & Who’s Counting? 38th Annual Conference National Association for Ethnic Studies Conference

Posted in Census/Demographics, Live Events, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2010-04-01 19:58Z by Steven

Who Counts & Who’s Counting? 38th Annual Conference National Association for Ethnic Studies Conference

National Association for Ethnic Studies, Inc.
2010-04-08 through 2010-04-10
L’Enfant Plaza Hotel
Washington, D.C.

Dr. Larry Shinagawa, NAES 2010 Conference Chair

Our theme of “Who Counts and Who’s Counting” signals the importance of Washington, D.C. as a physical, cultural, and social nexus for policy decisions that will shape the 21st Century. With the 2010 Census signaling the dramatic changes that are affecting all ethnic and racial communities in the United States, who is doing the counting and how we construct the discourse and policies of who counts will be central to the future of all residents of the United States and will shape global relations around the world. We hope you will participate in this important dialogue; welcome to NAES 2010 in Washington, D.C.!

A paritial tenative program is below (All times are local EDT):

Session II – Thursday 10:30 – 10:45
Whiteness studies
Heidi Cooper, Emily Drew, Zaid Mahir

Racial classifications and stereotypes
Jamelia Bastien, Bonazzo Claude, Jacco van Sterkenburg

Session III – Thursday 13:30 – 14:45
Black identities
Janet Awokoya, Anne Brubaker, Yanyi Djamba, Mizaba Abedi

Defining Race
Tiffany King, Arturo Nunez, Maisha Wester

Session IV – Thursday 15:00 – 16:15
Beyond the binary of race
Kaysha Corinealdi, José Luis Morín, Jodie Roure

Session IX – Saturday 09:00 – 10:15
European Identities
Daniel Carawan, Jon Keljik, Elizabeth Onasch, Samantha Pockele

The race in “mixed” race? Reiterations of power and identity
Sue-Je Gage, Rainier Spencer, Nicole Truesdell

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The Amerasian Problem: Blood, Duty, and Race

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2010-02-01 15:18Z by Steven

The Amerasian Problem: Blood, Duty, and Race

International Relations
Volume 21, Number 1 (March 2007)
pages 86-102
DOI: 10.1177/0047117807073769

Sue-Je Lee Gage, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Ithaca University

The concept of ‘mixed blood’ is not a new one; however, it was not until 1982 that an unprecedented policy entitled ‘The Amerasian Act’ was created by the US government. Focusing on the author’s ethnographic fieldwork in South Korea and the US, this article will unpack the assumptions underlying the seemingly religious statement ‘the American thing to do’ in terms of US policy, where ostensibly scientific notions of ‘race’, blood and identity are employed.

Read or purchase the article here.

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