Hyaeweol Choi, Associate Professor of Korean Studies, School of International Letters and Cultures, Arizona State University
The presentation focuses on the genealogies of the "modern" woman among Korean intellectuals and American women missionaries within the context of Korea's colonization by Japan at the turn of the twentieth century. Touching on some of the major issues of modern womanhood, such as gender equality, education, participation in the public sphere, and representations of gender in the popular media, it discusses the dynamic interplay between the Confucian-prescribed gender ideology of Korea, the nationalistic desires for nation-building among Korean intellectuals, and the Christian gender ethics of women missionaries. The analysis emphasizes both institutional and discursive endeavors of Koreans and Americans in fashioning modern womanhood in accord with their own mandates-either nationalist, Christian or secular modern. In so doing, the presentation intends to shed light on the ways in which competing narratives on modern womanhood reconfigured Confucian gender ideology for the modern era and also reveals the tensions that women experienced between their newly-found space for emancipation and other forms of social and political control over their bodies and subjectivities.
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