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Seth Berkman, ‘The Hen Crows: How a Group of Korean Women’s Hockey Players Redefined Perceptions of the Peninsula’

October 23, 2019 at 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

In Korea there is a saying: “If the hen crows, the household collapses.” This refers to the centuries-old belief that women are to be subservient to men, much in Confucian tradition. When South Korea hosted the Winter Olympics in 2018, a group of formerly unknown hockey players forever changed the perceptions of women in Korea and what a unified peninsula could resemble.

South Korea’s women’s national hockey team, which became largely remembered as the Unified team after adding 12 North Koreans at the behest of the North and South Korean governments, were more than just a political statement. In Seth Berkman’s book, “A Team of Their Own: How an International Sisterhood Made Olympic History” he delves into the stories and backgrounds of the players, while also examining the history of female athletes in Korea, their roles in society and how sport has frequently been used as a political tool. In his talk on October 23, Berkman will discuss these topics and how the team was representative of a new wave of empowerment for women in Korea and around the world.

Born in Seoul and raised in New Jersey, Seth Berkman made his first trip back to South Korea since his adoption during the 2018 Winter Olympics, when Korea’s first women’s Olympic hockey team made their historic debut. Berkman met the team while on assignment for the New York Times, where he has been a regular contributor since 2012. A graduate of Columbia University Journalism School, he has also had work published by The New Yorker and dozens of other local and national outlets. He currently lives in New York.


October 23, 2019
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
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FedEx Global Education Center, Room 4003
301 Pittsboro St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27516 United States


Carolina Asia Center
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