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Core Location as Method: Urban Development in the New Millennium South Korea

Apr 16, 2019 | 04:00 PM c.t. - 06:00 PM

This paper will introduce an edited volume forthcoming that aims to provide relevance of core location and Asia as Method in social science, targeting both an Anglophone readership and an audience in East Asia. 

Rather than deepening the division between humanities and social science, the volume will promote interdisciplinary approaches, which though mentioned by scholars in the field, including Yeong-Seo Baik and Kuan-Hsing Chen, have rarely been realized. The significance of this volume is not only that it answers the call to think about Asia as Method – a rare direction for the theory because it chiefly flows from non-west to west – but that it makes an intervention in academic knowledge production and distribution.

The volume also offers an original contribution to postcolonial theories and methods, with the multiple layers of geopolitical power dynamics embodied in the East Asian region, including the Chinese empire in the pre-modern era and its economic valence in recent decades, the hegemony of western modernity, Japanese colonialism in the region up to World War II, and the Cold War legacy since the Korean War and the division into North and South Korea (Glassman and Choi 2014). If subaltern studies based on South Asia and decolonization theory based on Africa, the Caribbean, and South America provide prisms through one or two layers of global hegemony, Asia as Method – a century-old idea from East Asia – offers a way of understanding the world through more intricate inter-regional geopolitical layers.

South Korea, in particular, is worth considering in a singular context because it has not been merely a victimized nation under diverse powers, but a proxy of the US and Japan, a sub-imperial and sub-colonial nation in Asia and the global south. South Korea sheds light on global and East Asian postcolonial geopolitics, not simply as a case study, but as a tool and paradigm of understanding global development.

Jesook Song is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto in Canada. She received her B.A. in Education Science at the Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology with a minor degree in Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA. Her research focuses on contemporary urban transformation and welfare issues including homelessness, youth unemployment, single women’s housing, and psychological health support system. Among her latest publications are “Gendered Care Work as “Free Labor” in State Employment: School Social Workers in the Education Welfare (Investment) Priority Project in South Korea” Journal of Asian Studies. 76(3): 751-768, and Living on Your Own: Single Women, Rent Housing, Post-Revolutionary Affect in Contemporary South Korea, Albany: SUNY Press, 2014.

Time & Location

Apr 16, 2019 | 04:00 PM c.t. - 06:00 PM

Room 2.2051
Holzlaube - Freie Unviersität Berlin
Fabeckstr. 23-25
14195 Berlin
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