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The Quest for StatehoodKorean Immigrant Nationalism and U.S. Sovereignty, 1905-1945$
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Richard S. Kim

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195369991

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369991.001.0001

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(p.158) Conclusion
The Quest for Statehood

Richard S. Kim

Oxford University Press

Korean diasporic nationalism in the years between 1905 and 1945 played a foundational role in the emergence of the two separate Koreas after 1945 that both exist to this day. Koreans in the United States were a constitutive part of this historical trajectory. While the processes of diasporic political mobilization under American global power and influence enabled the U.S. component of the Korean diaspora to achieve a certain degree of political agency in and out of the United States, the strategy of calling on the U.S. nation-state as a guarantor of the national goals of Koreans ultimately subordinated Korean national interests to a hegemonic American worldview, which explicitly manifested itself in South Korea’s neocolonial relationship with the United States after 1945. In endorsing the United States as a global power and leader, Korean diasporic nationalism also helped Korean immigrants establish themselves as an American ethnic group with political interests in Korea, but their racialized status left them essentially pleading their cause as stateless supplicants. This political position, determined by racially biased laws, ensured that Korean American ethnicization was one of subordination to U.S. hegemony rather than participation in that hegemony as it directly limited their participation in mainstream American life.

Keywords:   liberation, national division, South Korea, North Korea, Korean War, Kim Il Sung, civil war, neocolonialism, sovereign national state, U.S. hegemony

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