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Margaret Stetz has been honored by the Korea Foundation.

Korea Foundation honor

Photo by Ambre Alexander Payne

UD’s Stetz selected to attend distinguished academic program

Margaret Stetz, Mae and Robert Carter Professor of Women’s Studies and professor of humanities at the University of Delaware, was selected by the Korea Foundation for its 2017 “Invitation Program for Distinguished Guests in Academia.”

She was the only U.S. representative among 20 academic leaders from 20 countries who were brought to Seoul for a week in April. The purpose of the prestigious program, which is under the auspices of the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is to advance global diplomacy and advance international exchange by introducing notable scholars from around the world to Korean politics and culture.

Among the other delegates were El Salvador’s minister of education, deans from universities in Jordan and Spain and the director-general of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy in Greece.

During the weeklong program, the delegates visited the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security and the National Institute for International Education, as well as receiving a briefing at the Korea Institute for National Unification about the current state of political relations between South and North Korea. They also toured numerous historical and cultural sites.

The Korea Foundation arranged additional visits for Stetz, to reflect her particular scholarly interest in issues involving women, war and sexual violence — especially in relation to the so-called “comfort women” of World War II, who were the Asian women used as military sex slaves by the Imperial Japanese Army.

On April 28, Stetz gave an invited lecture at the Korean Women’s Institute of Ewha Woman’s University, Seoul, to an audience of faculty and postgraduate students. Her talk concerned the current state of academic feminism in the U.S. and how the historical subject of the “comfort system,” as an example of wartime sexual violence, fits within it.

In 1996, while a faculty member at Georgetown University, Stetz was a co-organizer of the first international academic conference in the U.S. on the topic of “comfort women.” She went on to edit, with Bonnie B.C. Oh, a volume of essays, Legacies of the Comfort Women of World War II.

Stetz’s essays related to the “comfort women” question have appeared in journals such as Works and Days and the Journal of Human Rights Practice, as well as in volumes such as Gender Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives.

“Teaching about the ‘Comfort System’ of World War II: The Hidden Stories of Girls,” her newest publication on the subject, is forthcoming in War and Sexual Violence, edited by Frank Jacob and Sarah K. Danielsson, to be published by Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh.

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