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Palgrave Macmillan

Theological Reflections on "Gangnam Style"

A Racial, Sexual, and Cultural Critique

ISBN 9781137373472
Publication Date July 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Pivot
Series Asian Christianity in the Diaspora

When Psy's (Park Jae-sang) music video "Gangnam Style" went viral, it achieved not only overnight global appeal, but also made the Korean sensation an unexpected pop star breaking into the mainstream American music market. The popularity of Gangnam Style in the American scene has as much to say about our racialized society as is does about the man who fashioned a rap music with an infectious dance routine. Those who oppose this view maintain that Gangnam Style has achieved an overnight global appeal in part because of its catchy tune and a dance that is easy for audiences to imitate. As we listen to his music video, do we Americans laugh at him or with him? In this book, the authors respond to this question from historical and theological perspectives that tackle the pressing issues concerning racial stereotypes, racialized bodies, hegemonic masculinity, and mimicry.

Joseph Cheah is Associate Professor of Comparative Theology at the University of Saint Joseph, USA. He is the author of Race and Religion in American Buddhism (2011) and he is a co-editor with Grace Ji-Sun Kim for the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, Asian Christianity in Diaspora.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim is Visiting Researcher at Georgetown University, USA. She is the author of Contemplations from the Heart (2014), Reimagining with Christian Doctrines (2014) coedited with Jenny Daggers, as well as Colonialism, Han, and the Transformative Spirit (2013); The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other (2011); and The Grace of Sophia (2002). She is also a coeditor with Joseph Cheah for the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, Asian Christianity in the Diaspora.

Table of Contents
1. Laughing at Psy
2. Laughing with Psy
3. Theology of Marginalization


"The authors' insight on the difference between 'laughing at Psy' and 'laughing with Psy' in the concluding chapter helps Asian Americans realize that now is a poignant time to think over sexual stereotypes of Asian Americans in the racialized U.S. society. This book is a good resource book for theologians and teachers of culture who are at the racial margins and want to perform their own innovative work in racial relations, conflict, and prejudice in the pop-cultural realm." - Seungyoun Jeong, Asian American Theological Forum
"Are we 'laughing at' or 'laughing with' Psy? Arguing persuasively that we do both, the authors explore how people of Asian descent have been marginalized by racial stereotypes even as they have made use of them to shape their own emerging identities. This book will inspire readers to pause at the interface between cultural expectation and personal integrity, and there attend to how we view others, how they view us, and how we view ourselves." - Cynthia L. Rigby, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, USA
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