The Center for Korean Studies will host a two-day international, interdisciplinary conference on modernity in colonial Korea Thursday and Friday, February 16 and 17. The conference, titled “Tapestry of Modernity: Urban Cultural Landscapes of Colonial Korea, 1920s-1930s,” will bring together scholars from the United States, Korea, Canada, and Australia.
Organized by Center for Korean Studies director Yung-Hee Kim, this conference will, within the conceptual framework of multiple modernities, explore multi-layered arrays of Korean modernity by looking at different areas in society and culture that went through a metamorphosis as Korea reinvented itself as a modern state-nation during the colonial period. Individual conference papers will explore various forms of selectivity, creativity, inventiveness, imaginary resourcefulness, and visions of Koreans engaged in crafting their own brands of modernity. The focus of the conference will be the cultural modernity projects nurtured and cultivated in the urban setting of Korea in the decades of the 1920s and the 1930s, when such modern transformation was most vigorously pursued and propagated and its achievements most visible and vibrant.
The conference ultimately aims to free studies of Korean modernity from the burden of colonial victim mentality/negativity and from Euro/Western-centric perspectives as well. By enlisting multidisciplinary expertise in various cultural fields, this conference will point toward generating and authenticating new bodies of critical knowledge, insights, and information on Korean colonial modernity through a fresh, revitalizing, and nuanced reading of its many faces and through revealing its multidimensional and even cosmopolitan achievements.
Conference sessions will begin at 9 o’clock each morning and continue throughout the day. The conference is open to all who wish to attend. The complete schedule, list of participants, and abstracts of the presentation are available on line at http://www.hawaii.edu/korea/pages/announce/events2012/tomconf/tom.html. For further information, telephone the Center at (808) 956‑7041.