Dr. Hannah Roh, K-Beauty and Technologies on the self

  • Abstract: K-Beauty, or Korean beauty, is now mainstream in North America, known for its skin-care routine comprised of ten (or more) steps. Backed by the South Korean government as part of a global exportation of Korean popular culture, the Korean beauty industry now ranks among the world’s largest beauty markets. This lecture unpacks how K-Beauty has not only recast skin-care as holistic “self-care,” but also how it has reified a ritual practice of ethical subjectivity. Drawing on what Michel Foucault has called “technologies of the self,” this talk considers the (often invisible) religious dimensions of K-Beauty, and what these imaginations of self-actualization and self-transformation reveal about our current cultural landscape.