Historians of post-colonial medicine in South Korea have understood a series of changes in the public health system during the Cold War era as an abrupt shift from a Japanese model to an American one. Challenging this perspective of alleged Americanization, this paper examines the continuity of a colonial medical legacy and its relationship with the newly established Americanstandard public health in the late 1940s and 1950s South Korea. Especially, this paper focuses on the intellectual aspect of public health that has been neglected in the historiography of public health, which to date has been limited to the administrative and institutional aspects of public health. By doing so, this paper aims to show how Japanese colonial medicine and American public health practices actively interacted with each other. Taking as case studies South Korea’s doctors who studied public health in the United States with the support of the USAMGIK, this paper analyzes their academic activities on public health. By tracing the process of interaction between colonial medicine and American public health practices, this paper argues that the newly established American public health standards in the post-liberation era was a result of an entanglement between the Japanese colonial legacy and American public health.
South Korean family planning is often characterized in terms of a progressive narrative in which the Park Chung-hee state transformed rural life (1964– early 1980s) through the successful application of social science with the help of a series of international collaborators. Similar stories are sometimes told for Taiwan and other parts of East and Southeast Asia. This paper argues, however, that Korean concerns about population issues have a much longer history, with origins dating to the late 1930s. The subsequent uses of these concerns indicate the diverse ways in which Japanese imperial training and education were successfully adapted by Korean actors to fit emerging American modernization efforts in the 1960s.
This paper examines the way in which South Korean biologists developed their conservationist minds and practices through a long tradition of academic expeditions to mountains that predate the 1960s cooperation with US conservationists. By focusing on mountain expeditions carried out by Korean alpinists and scientists from the late 1920s to early 1960s, this paper illuminates how Korean biologists developed forest and natural monument conservation practices they were able to incorporate into the governmental conservation activities while taking part in the Corean Alpine Club’s postwar “academic alpinism” (akademik alpinijeum). I argue that their conservation activities, and specifically their military linkages, could be well understood as a transwar product rather than a Cold War outcome. Through this case study, I suggest that this transwar approach helps both historians of Korean science and Korean environmental historians study their research subject while avoiding the widespread analytical dichotomy of Japanese colonial legacies and Cold War ruptures.
During the late 1960s, South Korean state engineers from construction agencies promoted large dam-building projects with the notion that their expertise would allow them to carve nature for the benefit of the nation. Hidden under this audacious declaration to manipulate nature was the precarious identitymaking of hydrological engineers from academia who contributed to rationalizing dam construction. This paper shows that the uncertain identity of hydrological engineers resonated with their position in a developing South Korea between the colonial legacy and the Cold War influx of Western knowledge. While working closely with state engineers, academic engineers had the distinct goal of establishing a unique Korean research program, overcoming both colonial river management and the Western methods on which it stood. This paper argues that carving nature ultimately concealed the haphazardness of the national water resources development plan as manifested in the tensions between state and academic engineers.
This study aims to explore the current status of social inequality and unfairness issues in Korea to which the media devoted attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. We collected 2,069 articles published by 49 media outlets in Korea between January 20, 2020 and November 24, 2020 that satisfied the conditions of “COVID-19 (AND) Inequality (OR) Unfair” and conducted keyword frequency and centrality analysis. We also performed semantic network analysis on 64 main keywords. Semantic network analysis was concurrently conducted with CONCOR analysis for a clear identification of the detailed issues. According to this analysis, the main issues were classified into five types, most of which were related to economic inequality and unfairness. Through this method, we identified issues related to inequality and unfairness in Korean society. We found that news reports focused on the economic sector disprove the notion that there is a relative lack of interest in new types of social inequality.
Abdürreşid İbrahim, a leading Muslim scholar originally from Russia, embarked on his journey to Japan in 1908 to meet with his contacts from Kokuryūkai (Black Dragon Society). On his way back, he spent around ten days in the Korean Empire. İbrahim, who was convinced of the “barbarism” of the West, found quite a few examples in Korea to build upon his theory of “Eastern civility,” just as he had found during his time in Japan. He met with a range of people, from porters to the Korean Empire’s Interior Minister, and wrote about them in his travelogue titled Âlem-i İslam [The World of Islam]. This paper argues that İbrahim was particularly sympathetic to Koreans because he saw their position in a world of imperial hierarchies as analogous to that of Muslims in the Russian Empire. In Korea, İbrahim’s anti-Westernism is coupled with his vision of a Pan-Asian world order led by Imperial Japan. Âlem-i İslam is significant because it is the only account of the Korean Empire’s final years written by a Muslim intellectual.
This study explores the relationship between Korean-Chinese ethnicity and China’s post-socialist local development. To do this, it focuses on the experiences of the Korean-Chinese population of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture during the mid-1970s and 1980s. It describes how political rehabilitation after the Cultural Revolution, economic liberalization, and improvement in Sino-North Korea relations restored the local and transnational Koreanness of the Yanbian Koreans. Local and transnational Koreanness served as important determinants for Yanbian’s development. The study concludes that the restoration of minority ethnicity was directly connected to the early stages of China’s post-socialist local development.
Drawing on in-depth interviews, this paper shows how study abroad men with upper-class backgrounds manage their image as enviable others, particularly in the context of their military experiences and understanding of military service. They view military service as a useful way to secure militarized masculine citizenship and launder their contaminated image as enviable others in order to live and work in South Korea. This understanding of military service as an individualized benefit deviates from the dominant construction of military service as a patriotic duty expected of all male citizens; at the same time, the meanings and values study abroad men attach to militarized masculine citizenship reveal the powerful workings of the triangular relationship between men, military service, and citizenship in Korea. The findings here complicate the commonly understood association between Korean men, military service, and citizenship, revealing the highly classed as well as gendered nature of military service and the meanings/values of militarized masculine citizenship. Furthermore, the role of American education and English skills within the military and beyond also reveals the ongoing effects of US imperialism and the American military presence in Korea.