Theme: Coronavirus and Pop Culture
Dates: September 12th-15th, 2021
Venue: Kellogg College, Oxford University*
Organizer: World Association for Hallyu Studies
Host: Kellogg College, Oxford University
Sponsors: Academy of Korean Studies
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Abstract and Panel Proposal Submission Deadline: June 30, 2021

Pre-Registration Fee

  • WAHS members: $100 (onsite $200)
  • WAHS student members: $50 (onsite $100)
  • Non-members: $250 (onsite $350)
  • Non-member students: $150 (onsite $250)

Accommodation: Book your own accommodations. The congress home page will lead you to Kellogg College dorms (breakfast included) for cheaper prices than ordinary hotels in Oxford.

Individual and Panel Abstracts: The 8th World Congress for Hallyu, which is to be held at Oxford University, United Kingdom, invites individual paper abstracts and panel proposals on “Coronavirus and Pop Culture.”

 The Theme: “Coronavirus and Pop Culture”

The original 8th congress was cancelled due to the coronavirus. The impact of the pandemic on pop culture is beyond imagination, as virtually all cultural activities have been suspended or cancelled. BTS also cancelled all the planned tours and organized online concerts instead. On the other hand, as Zizek mentioned, Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming services have had unusually high volume of demands from pop culture consumers. As customer demand for the streaming service exploded, so did the consumption of semiconductors and IT parts, making the electronic industry a booming business amid the pandemic.

The future of pop culture after the pandemic is not clear, either, even as countries are hurriedly injecting vaccines to citizens. Inoculation takes a long time, while its effectiveness has yet to be seen, probably requiring another year before its effect is really felt. Many specialists forewarn that the normal we used to know before coronavirus may never come back, making us adapt to the “new normal” with a series of pandemics with different variants of the virus.

Against this backdrop, it is high time for us to start the discussion on coronavirus and its impact on pop culture. Broadly defined, pop culture refers to any mainstream or underground cultural creativities that are clearly distinguished from high culture in terms of production, distribution, and consumption activities. For example, we adopt the famous definition of high culture by DiMaggio that its function is to legitimize the status privileges of its consumers in society. Therefore, pop culture deliberately distinguishes from high culture to the extent that it openly defies such traditional status privileges (i.e., new pop culture status, often in the form of “celebrity” power, is emerging, although its consumers do not necessarily enjoy status privileges by becoming fans of the celebrities).

This congress aims to start the pandemic discourse in pop culture for the first time with a focus on Hallyu and other similar pop culture genres from other countries (e.g., Japanese anime, Hollywood films, Bollywood films, Jamaican Reggae, etc.). We are seeking papers on the conceptualization of the pandemic in pop culture with historical, contemporary, and futuristic outlooks. Papers and panel proposals related to (but not limited to) the following themes are especially welcomed:

  • Coronavirus and Hallyu (and other similar pop culture genres)
  • Industrial responses to coronavirus
  • Interdisciplinary research on pandemic studies

Selected papers will be published in Asia Pacific Business Review (SSCI indexed) and Culture and Empathy (Crossref indexed).

As usual, in addition to the theme sessions, divisional and special sessions are also prepared as follows:

  1. Divisional Sessions:
    1. Various fields in social sciences and management studies.
    2. Hallyu, K-pop/K-drama, K-food, K-films, and others.
  2. Special Sessions:
    1. Graduate Student Round Table.
    2. Special Session on “Zines” (organized by Prof. Peter Bryant, Sydney U.)
    3. Others (TBD)

For individual paper proposals — please submit an abstract of a maximum of 300 words with a one paragraph bio and contact details.

For panel proposals — please include a one-page abstract of the panel in addition to the abstract of each paper and bios with contact details.

Submit Abstracts to

Normally the papers should be presented in English; however, under special circumstances, some panels may use the following languages: Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, French, and German.


Relevant References

DiMaggio, P., 1982. Cultural entrepreneurship in nineteenth-century Boston: The creation of an organizational base for high culture in America. Media, Culture & Society4(1), pp.33-50.

Kennedy, M., 2020. ‘If the rise of the TikTok dance and e-girl aesthetic has taught us anything, it’s that teenage girls rule the internet right now’: TikTok celebrity, girls and the Coronavirus crisis. European Journal of Cultural Studies23(6), pp.1069-1076.

Lehman, E.T., 2020. “Washing hands, reaching out”: Popular music, digital leisure and touch during the COVID-19 pandemic. Leisure Sciences, pp.1-7. DOI: 10.1080/01490400.2020.1774013.

Parivudhiphongs, A., 2020. COVID-19–You Can’t Stop the Beat!. Journal of Urban Culture Research20, pp.3-9.

Peters, M.A., 2020. Love and social distancing in the time of Covid-19: The philosophy and literature of pandemics. Educational Philosophy and Theory, DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2020.1750091.

Zizek, S., 2020. PANDEMIC!: Covid-19 Shakes the World. John Wiley & Sons.