Koreana in the Japanese Colonial Gaze

Professor Taylor Atkins of Northern Illinois University to give a talk

Fri, May 6, 2011 | Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Koreana in the Japanese Colonial Gaze

The Japanese colonial regime in Korea (1910-45) is well-known for its assimilationist agenda and is condemned as one of the most brutal in the colonial world.  Some scholars have characterized its efforts to abolish all traces of an independent Korean cultural identity as tantamount to "cultural genocide."  In my recent book, I argue that there was another significant aspect to Japanese attitudes toward Korea: a sustained interest in "curating" virtually all aspects of Korean culture, as well as a profound sense of anti-modernist nostalgia.  Convinced that Japanese and Koreans shared a common racial ancestry, yet had not followed the same historical trajectories, Japanese observers of Koreana expressed a sense of loss and mourned for their own "primitive selves."

Taylor Atkins is Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of History, Northern Illinois University, Affiliated Global Faculty, Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education

ABOUT PROFESSOR ATKINS: "I specialize in the cultural history of modern Japan and Korea, but both my research and teaching interests extend well beyond those countries. Much of my previous work could be characterized as historical ethnomusicology, using music to understand cultures of the past.  I am also interested in colonialism, public memorialization, nationalism, aesthetics, and transnational popular culture."

Sponsored by: Center for East Asian Studies

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