introduction
THE POLITICS OF GENDER, SEXUALITY, RACE,
AND CLASS IN THE U.S. MILITARY EMPIRE

MARIA HÖHN AND SEUNGSOOK MOON
The idea for this book was born during a study trip with Vassar
students to South Korea in the spring of 2004, when we visited
Hooker Hill in It’aew˘ on, the famous red-light district of Seoul that
caters to American gis. While It’aew˘on continues to draw American
soldiers, as it has since the late 1940s, it has also become a bustling
shopping district with fancy restaurants that o√er international cui-
sine. During our visit to It’aew˘on, U.S. soldiers were milling about in
the streets and enacting a ritual that was as old as the U.S. global
military empire itself. The soldiers were hoping to escape the dreari-
ness of military life by looking for drink, drugs, and women. Clubs
catering to the soldiers in It’aew˘on, which are legally o√-limits to
most Koreans, all boomed with American music, and many sported
names that evoked American sites. Business transactions were con-
ducted in English, and most establishments replicated the social seg-
regation of the races prevalent in American society. To keep order in
this raucous atmosphere, uniformed Courtesy Patrols (cps) instead
of U.S. Military Police (mps) walked the streets, routinely checking
on the gis inside the clubs. For the soldiers in search of a good time,
and for the cp patrols making sure that things did not get out of hand,
the clubs in It’aew˘on hardly di√ered from those around American
military bases anywhere else in the world. Indeed, while some of the
clubs predictably o√ered ‘‘girls, girls, girls’’ or ‘‘naughty nurses,’’
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