UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Becoming “Red Children” : the literacy movement among Soviet Koreans in the Russian Far East, 1922-1937 Belokon, Olga


This thesis attempts to place Russian Far East (RFE) Korean literacy campaigns vis-à-vis others of the many nationalities of the USSR through an original synthesis of a great number of sources in English, Korean and Russian. In so doing, I wish to showcase the many facets of “Soviet Korean” likbez (or likvidatsiia bezgramotnosti; “liquidation of illiteracy”), from its gendered dynamics to the power of creating structures and so-called “Soviet spaces,” both physical and institutional. This thesis is primarily interested in the meanings that Soviet Korean literary campaigns had—and by extension in the issues of their conceptualization, creation and reception—as well as in those who perpetuated the campaign: the governments on state and local levels, teachers, and librarians. Through the application of historical analysis, I conclude that “Soviet Korean” likbez was not only concerned with the issues of functional literacy but also with “political literacy” and identity building.

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