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Heal the traumatic colonial memories? Reconstructing Seoul's post-colonial landscape through the treatment of Japanese colonial architecture
Topic：Heal the traumatic colonial memories? Reconstructing Seoul's post-colonial landscape through the treatment of Japanese colonial architecture
Venue ：NCTU, HA2 Building, Room 106A
*The talk will be conducted in English
Dr. Hyun Kyung Lee
Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences,
and Humanities, University of Cambridge /
Graduate School of International Studies,Seoul National University
Dr. Desmond Sham
International Center for Cultural Studies, National Chiao Tung University
The Japanese authorities constructed their empire in Korea (1910–45) along lines that echoed and repurposed the traditions of Joseon (as Korea was formerly known). They attempted to signify their power through physical construction projects associated with their empire-building project, in particular in Seoul, the colonial Korean capital. As Japan deliberately targeted Korean traditional buildings, either replacing them with modern Japanese architecture or destroying them, Seoul became the centre of a conflict between Korean tradition and Japanese modernisation. Hence, Japan’s invasion of Korea was a critical turning point in Seoul’s physical and symbolic transformation, and Japanese colonial memories were inscribed in the city’s landscape.
This paper seeks to understand how South Korea has reconstructed Seoul’s post-colonial landscape through its treatment of the Japanese architectural legacy after liberation. In particular, this paper focuses on four case studies of locations which are regarded as the critical points of Seoul’s landscape: 1) the Grand Shrine of Joseon (South, religious), 2) the Japanese Government-General Building (North, political), 3) Seodaemun Prison (West, political), and 4) Dongdaemun Stadium (East, cultural). This study investigates how they have been differently managed and how their visual representation and symbolic meanings have been changed. In addition, it examines which factors affect the diverse outcomes experienced by each, and accounts for how these different management approaches related to with the handling of South Korea’s traumatic colonial memories, and whether these treatments either heal or twist the national trauma.
Speaker’s Bio :
Hyun Kyung Lee is a post-doctoral research fellow working on the Academy of Korean Studies-funded research project "Beyond the Cold War, towards a community of Asia" at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities, University of Cambridge and Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University. Her research interests include difficult heritage (colonial/Cold War heritage), trans-national heritage networking, peace-building and the role of UNESCO programmes in East Asia. Her latest book Memory and Punishment: Heritage and De-commissioned Prisons in East Asia, written in collaboration with her Taiwanese colleague Shu-Mei Huang, is forthcoming from Routledge. She is also the author of Difficult Heritage in Nation Building: South Korea and Post-conflict Japanese Colonial Occupation Architecture (2019, from Palgrave Macmillan).
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