Spring 2017

Bohyeong Kim


This study explores the birth of the popular radio serial drama under the Cold War doctrine of national broadcasting in 1950s South Korea. By examining texts, critiques, production practices, and writers, I interrogate how the anti-Communism propaganda mandate was negotiated in radio drama, influenced not only by the South Korean government and the field of radio production but also by the U.S. cultural Cold War programs and Americanization. As the result of historical contingencies within radio-drama production, the propaganda mission of national broadcasting morphed into “vulgar” melodrama, focused on romantic triangles and urban lifestyles. Whereas themes contrasted with the government intention, the genre effectively supported the purposes of anti-Communist propaganda by promoting the American way of life, wherein individual freedom was identified with capitalist consumer modernity. In this vein, serialized melodrama heralded an important shift in radio propaganda from direct and overt anti-Communism to a more ambiguous and recreational direction. This complex process is considered in relation to Americanization of radio writers and the U.S. cultural Cold War efforts, such as the Broadcasters Exchange Program.

Registers of action: melodrama and film genre in 1930s India

Screen, Volume 58, Issue 1, 1 March 2017, Pages 64–72,

Is there some comparative and connected way of thinking through film genre, both in the local contexts of production and more regionally and globally? In the early period of Indian cinema there were key patterns of film circulation and, alongside the iconic ‘national’ genre of the mythological, it would appear that the action serial/stunt movie and adventure/fantasy film remained a staple attraction.1 While genre elaboration took place in the 1920s, with historical and social films becoming part of cinema’s attractions, it was only in the 1930s that the notion of ‘the social’ acquired a cultural cachet and reformist zeal, not just in one site but across colonial India’s multiple and overlapping language territories.2 A research agenda has emerged recently within film studies to unsettle this canonical account of cinema’s unfolding narrative.

In critical studies on historical television programmes, the affective qualities of televisual memory have been discussed mainly in terms of nostalgia. This article argues that conceptualizing the affective modes of relating to the past in more varied ways can help us to better understand the politics of memory on television. As a case study, the article analyses Finnish Broadcasting Company Yleisradio’s historical drama and documentary series that deal with the relationship between Finland and the Soviet Union. The article identifies three affective modes in the programmes: irony, nostalgia and melodrama. Each of these modes offers different possibilities for critiquing, understanding and justifying the past. By studying televisual memories of the Soviet Union in a non-socialist country with important political, economic and cultural ties with the socialist bloc, the article moreover questions a clear East–West binary in studies on post-socialist memory.

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