Blood, Spit, and Paper: Telling the Story of Warfare from Inside the Interrogation Room

Wed, October 20, 2021 4:30 PM - Wed, October 20, 2021 5:30 PM at Zoom

APA Studies, the Department of History, and the Asian Studies Center are proud to host Monica Kim for Blood, Spit, and Paper: Telling the Story of Warfare from Inside the Interrogation Room with additional support from Consumers Energy.


Event Description: What happens when we begin the story of warfare from inside the interrogation room? In this talk, I will speak about how I came to the interrogation room as a core site from which to begin my work on the Korean War. Ultimately, the challenges of conceptualizing the archive of interrogation – both in terms of paper and bodies – opened up a deeper inquiry into the utility of warfare for the U.S. empire in an era of formal decolonization. My book, The Interrogation Rooms of the Korean War: The Untold History, begins both in post-1945 U.S-occupied Korea and also the Japanese American internment camps of WWII, and I will discuss how, during my research, examining the interrogator and the interrogatee entirely burst the usual temporal bounds of the Korean War via the longer histories of race, empire, and colonialism across the Pacific.

Speaker Biography: Monica Kim is William Appleman Williams & David G. and Marion S. Meissner Chair in U.S. International and Diplomatic History and Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Prof. Kim is a historian of the United States and international and diplomatic history. In her research and teaching, she focuses on issues that have centrally informed the position of the United States vis-à-vis the decolonizing world during the twentieth century and beyond: the relationships between liberalism and racial formations, global militarism, and sovereignty, and transnational political movements and international law. Her first book, The Interrogation Rooms of the Korean War: The Untold History (Princeton, 2019), tells the story of the changing script of warfare through the Korean War. Moving from the North Korean POW camps along the Yalu River, to US-run POW camps on the South Korean island of Koje, and to the Indian-controlled POW repatriation center in New Delhi, the book tells a global history of the Korean War through four different military interrogation rooms: those created by the US military, South Korean paramilitary youth groups, the North Korean and Chinese militaries, and the Indian Custodian Force. The book has won 2021 Outstanding Achievement in History Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies, 2021 James B. Palais Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies, 2020 Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize from The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and 2020 Distinguished Book Award for U.S. History from The Society for Military History.

Monica Kim event flyer