Camptown Dwelling: Environment and Survival in Memories of My Ghost Brother

Ling Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


The representation of environmental injustice in Heinz Insu Fenkl's novel Memories of My Ghost Brother (1996) has yet to be examined. This neglect suggests a need to open up the dialogue between Fenkl's work, which is relatively invisible beyond Asian American and postcolonial studies, and ecocriticism. Memories of My Ghost Brother shows that the impoverished, noxious, and dangerous conditions and pervasive diseases in Korean camptowns are socially engineered by the United States-Republic of Korea neocolonial system that on the one hand disregards camptowns' infrastructural needs and on the other hand allows the US military to wreak environmental damage with impunity. Specifically, the novel portrays pervasive dust, flooding sewage, the noise from US military activities, and the dangerous live ammunition left by the US military after their training. Without reducing camptown residents to mere victims, the novel also depicts the survival strategies they have adopted. The novel further situates camptowns within the context of the ongoing environmental atrocities committed by the US military across Asia. Fenkl's depictions of the dire situation in camptowns and the toxic legacies from the atomic bomb and Agent Orange challenge the narrative of American benevolence in Korea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-134
Number of pages26
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

User-Defined Keywords

  • Korea
  • US military
  • ecocriticism
  • environmental justice
  • neocolonialism


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