By Soo-Young Chin, Dora Yum Kim
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Extra info for Doing what had to be done: the life narrative of Dora Yum Kim
Methodological Considerations The collection of a life story is a collaborative effort that emerges for various reasons. In discussing the need for collaboration in writing her life story, Dora commented, "You know I had a stroke a couple of years ago. I don't think I can wait any longer to write my life story and I can't write it alone. " For Dora, it is not just health issues that prevent her from writing an autobiography; to write about herself is not in the realm of acceptable behavior. The autobiographical tradition emerged in the West, firmly rooted in the value placed on the individual, "with the confessionals of the Renaissance period.
The collective self is often employed by members of a minority or alien group writing to members of a majority or ruling group. 28 While the self-conscious rendering of a collective self is a strategy employed in ethnic autobiography or life story, there are other reasons that Dora utilized the collective agent. In the telling, Dora often used the collective "we" for many different voices. The use of the "we" may be embedded in the Christian tradition of the ecclesiastical "we" that, for the most part, describes the religious affiliation of the majority of Korean Americans.
In 1992, after the civil unrest that wreaked havoc in the Los Angeles Korean American community following the Rodney King decision, a surprising number of immigrant Koreans simply packed up and returned to Korea. However, the majority remained, determined to take a stand in the only place that feels like home. The establishment Of the Korean American Museum in Los Angeles reflects that determination. When I moved to Los Angeles in January of 1995, to take a position at the University of Southern California, I was asked join the Program Committee at the Korean American Museum (KAM).