English and Ethnicity, Race, & Migration | Grace Hopper College

Janis Jin
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Senior Essay Title: "The Right to Freedom: Human Rights and the North Korean Defector Testimony"

Advisers: Sunny Xiang and Lisa Lowe

Abstract: This thesis ruminates on the formal, rhetorical, and ideological junctions between liberal human rights discourse and the genre of what I will call the North Korean defector testimony: the speeches, memoirs, and television appearances through which defectors have told the stories of their escape out of North Korea. North Korean defectors’ stories have often been described as "human rights propaganda" – narratives that are conspicuously shot through with ideology, meant to inspire a demand for liberal war and intervention. This project does not dispute this claim. But it does try to read defectors’ narratives differently, through an analytic developed in literary and cultural studies: genre.