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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Transcultural Approaches to Europe Hosts Miriam Yung Min Stein

Miriam Stein will discuss her book Berlin–Seoul–Berlin (2008), a literary memoir about a Korean-German adoptee’s first trip to her native South Korea since her birth there in the spring of 1977.

Portrait of Miriam Stein in a leather jacket, long dark hair, smiling at the camera. Plain grey backdrop.

Transcultural Approaches to Europe Hosts Miriam Yung Min Stein

When:

Friday, May 14, 2021 | 1:30-3:00pm

Where:

Registration Required: http://bit.ly/MiriamStein-May14.

About:

Miriam Stein will discuss her book Berlin–Seoul–Berlin (2008), a literary memoir about a Korean-German adoptee’s first trip to her native South Korea since her birth there in the spring of 1977. Back in Korea, Miriamattempts to find traces of her biological family, as well as any remaining cultural roots with great support from Hye-YoonJung, a Korean artist living in Stuttgart, as well as fellow adoptees, liaisons and Korean women. Berlin –Seoul –Berlin tells the story of one woman’s quest for cultural identity against the bigger political picture. This is the historical background: After the Korean war, about 200,000 South Korean orphans were adopted into families across Europe and the United States. Up until the 1980s, there is little recorded information regarding the adoptees‘ birth families. There is even a lack of data regarding birthdays and birthplaces at the Korean Archives, which transforms the first months of the adoptees‘ lives into blank spaces. In addition, most German families who adopted neither maintained a cultural relationship with the children’s birth countries nor found a healthy way to address racial differences and racism. Germany considered itself “colorblind” which of course wasn’t true, as structural racism prevented and prevents People of Color from equal opportunities until today. Although Miriam never finds out any facts about the circumstances of her birth and first seven months, she finds solace in friendship and a fascinating, cross-cultural experience and research.

About Miriam Yung Min Stein:

Miriam Yung Min Stein, born in South Korea in 1977, grew up in West Germany in a German Baptist family. She lived in New York, London, and Cologne before moving to Berlin in 2001. There, she did some short format directing before settling as a writer and journalist. She has been a lecturer at various German Universities and works full-time as a Features Director at Harper’s Bazaar Germany. Her latest book Das Fürchten Verlernen was published by Suhrkamp in 2016.

About Transcultural Approaches to Europe:

The Colloquium on Transcultural Approaches to Europe advances crucial conversations on world language and literature study on our campus, through an interdisciplinary, multi-departmental speaker series focused on issues of race, identity, colonialism, and migration within a broad European context. These trans- or postnational, transcultural, and multilingual approaches to national literatures offer effective frameworks for undergraduates, graduates, and faculty to grasp the intersectional complexity of power configurations in literary and visual cultures and in doing so generate fruitful pathways for decoloniality and its cultural producers.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required (link to registration: http://bit.ly/MiriamStein-May14).