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**POSTPONED** The Criminalization of Adultery: Gender Equality, Monogamy, and Faithful Marraige in Postwar South Korea

Jisoo M. Kim, George Washington University

April 12, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 202 Jones Hall

East Asian Studies Program

**Please note that this event has been postponed to a later date. Please check the East Asian Studies website for more details.**

Adultery was treated as a crime throughout Korean history until 2015, when the Constitutional Court of South Korea ruled the adultery law unconstitutional. The global trend of decriminalizing adultery began in the twentieth century: Denmark in 1930, Sweden in 1937, Japan in 1947, Germany and Italy in 1969, Malta in 1973, Luxembourg in 1974, France in 1975, Spain in 1978, Portugal in 1982, Greece in 1983, Switzerland in 1990, Argentina in 1995, and Austria in 1996. The movement for decriminalizing adultery was based on the notion that adultery law discriminated against women and violated their human rights. However, in postwar South Korea, adultery law evolved in a different trajectory in which women favored the law and were against deleting it from the books. This talk addresses this puzzle by examining how global and local forces diverged, converged, and crossverged. There was a paradigm shift in sexuality in postwar South Korea by introducing monogamous marriage, gender equality, sexual autonomy, privacy, and one’s pursuit of happiness. This talk examines why the state continued to penalize adultery in postwar South Korea and investigates the shifting notions of sexual norms, sexual morality, and evolving discourses of adultery that impacted marriage, monogamy, and gender relationship.

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