The project deals with the domestic and international reception of Korean popular culture focusing on the representation of women in Korean cinema and K-pop fandom in Africa. The focus of this research is an in-depth analysis of Korean cultural products in the context of digitalization and globalization.

As South Korean digital cultural goods are globally released and consumed, more attention has been paid to cultural actors such as the global or domestic consumers/users of audio-visual products and internet journalism. The Korean popular music part explores the proactive reception of K-Pop by South African fandom and the fans’ engagement with the transnational popular cultural flow. Local interpretation and appropriation of K-Pop in South Africa will be the focus.

The Korean cinema section investigates how cultural products reflect the social discourses of their country of origin, how these discourses are relevant to their reception within domestic audiences and how their messages adapt to South Korea’s ever-growing international audiences. The argument is that cultural products are essential to strengthening South Korea’s international image and have successfully been utilized to craft this image. Furthermore, the following three themes will be explored: a deeper understanding of cultural entrepreneurs and the mechanisms behind this process and a critical evaluation of the contents of the discourses presented in the resulting cultural products.

How do these cultural products reflect the social discourses of their country of origin and who are the relevant actors who influence them? Has the globalization of Korean cultural products created a diversification in the depiction of certain topics? How is K-pop music interpreted and appropriated locally by South African K-pop fan groups? How do the global K-pop fans themselves influence the expansion and development of Korean cultural products on a global level?


The project is based on a combination of film analysis, digital and on-site ethnography, in-depth interviews through fieldwork in South Korea and South Africa.

The analysis of films and fandom as well as the social, cultural, historic and gender context in which they were created, will provide an insight into the discourses represented in them on the topic of female depiction in South Korean cinema and K-pop fandom.


A Travel Report: K-Pop and Korean Culture Events in Korea

The Changwon K-Pop World Festival and the K-Community Festivals are held annually and sponsored by the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. They call global K-Pop and K-Wave fans to compete in K-Pop related challenges and invite the...

K-Pop Fans in South Africa: An Observation

During her field research trip to South Africa, Tabitha Adler had the opportunity to attend two K-pop fan events in Johannesburg, meet members of the South African K-pop fandom for interviews and visit the Korean Cultural Centre in Pretoria. She...


Casandra Chistinean was part of this year’s interdisciplinary conference titled “Situations 2022 – Global Content Provider: Korean Film and TV Drama Industry and Entertainment”. “Situations: Cultural Studies in the Asian Context” is an international print and online journal (indexed by...


As part of her field research for CEDITRAA, Casandra Chistinean attended the 17th edition of the Busan Film Festival. She attended screening venues with open talks held by organisers, film staff and critics, actor talks, masterclasses, workshops and keynote speeches...

Call for Contributions until 28/02/22: BTS, a Critical Reader

Responsible Contact Person at CEDITRAA: Casandra Christinean Dr. Frances Gateward, one of the guest lecturers of last year’s Korean Popular Culture Workshop, and her research team are calling for contributions for their volume “BTS: A Critical Reader”.  They seek rigorous...

Project – K Korean Film Festival 10th Edition 2021

The 10th Korean Film Festival Frankfurt took place from October 20th to 31st, 2021. To celebrate its 10th anniversary the motto of the festival was “Identity”. The “What’s your ID?” campaign offered the Project K – Team and the over...

The 3rd edition of the Korean Popular Culture Workshop

The 3rd edition of the Korean Popular Culture Workshop was organized online on 9 December 2021 and started at 17:00 CET. The 96 participants listened to and discussed topics presented by the workshop’s three guest lecturers. On the topic of...

Film Analysis through the Social Lens

South Korea has strengthened its international image and its political and economic ties by promoting and exporting its cultural products and creating a distinctive Korean nation brand. These heavily promoted cultural exports have become instrumental to how the world perceives...