CKS Conference Will Delve Into Urban Culture of Colonial Korea

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 For fur­ther infor­ma­tion, tele­phone the Cen­ter at (808) 956‑7041.