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Recent Publications

Protest Dialectics: State Repression and South Korea's Democracy Movement, 1970-1979
Chang PY. Protest Dialectics: State Repression and South Korea's Democracy Movement, 1970-1979. Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press; 2015 pp. 312. WebsiteAbstract
1970s South Korea is characterized by many as the "dark age for democracy." Most scholarship on South Korea's democracy movement and civil society has focused on the "student revolution" in 1960 and the large protest cycles in the 1980s which were followed by Korea's transition to democracy in 1987. But in his groundbreaking work of political and social history of 1970s South Korea, Paul Chang highlights the importance of understanding the emergence and evolution of the democracy movement in this oft-ignored decade. Protest Dialectics journeys back to 1970s South Korea and provides readers with an in-depth understanding of the numerous events in the 1970s that laid the groundwork for the 1980s democracy movement and the formation of civil society today. Chang shows how the narrative of the 1970s as democracy's "dark age" obfuscates the important material and discursive developments that became the foundations for the movement in the 1980s which, in turn, paved the way for the institutionalization of civil society after transition in 1987. To correct for these oversights in the literature and to better understand the origins of South Korea's vibrant social movement sector this book presents a comprehensive analysis of the emergence and evolution of the democracy movement in the 1970s.
Wrongful Deaths: Selected Inquest Records from Nineteenth-Century Korea
Kim SJ, Kim J. Wrongful Deaths: Selected Inquest Records from Nineteenth-Century Korea. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press; 2014 pp. 280. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This collection presents and analyzes inquest records that tell the stories of ordinary Korean people under the Choson court (1392-1910). Extending the study of this period, usually limited to elites, into the realm of everyday life, each inquest record includes a detailed postmortem examination and features testimony from everyone directly or indirectly related to the incident. The result is an amazingly vivid, colloquial account of the vibrant, multifaceted societal and legal cultures of early modern Korea. Sun Joo Kim is the Harvard-Yenching Professor of Korean History at Harvard University. Jungwon Kim is assistant professor of Korean history at Columbia University. “This book provides an extremely rare view into social interactions among people of quite different classes in Choson Korea. Points of interest abound.”—Robert E. Hegel, Washington University, St. Louis "This is an important contribution that significantly advances our knowledge of nineteenth-century Korean legal history. The translated cases shine by being able to introduce daily struggles of nonelites and illustrate the complex dynamics of the judiciary system during the last century of the Choson dynasty." - Jisoo Kim, George Washington University
Songs of Seoul: An Ethnography of Voice and Voicing in Christian South Korea
Harkness N. Songs of Seoul: An Ethnography of Voice and Voicing in Christian South Korea. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press; 2013 pp. 320. Website LinkAbstract
Songs of Seoul is an ethnographic study of voice in South Korea, where the performance of Western opera, art songs, and choral music is an overwhelmingly Evangelical Christian enterprise. Drawing on fieldwork in churches, concert halls, and schools of music, Harkness argues that the European-style classical voice has become a specifically Christian emblem of South Korean prosperity. By cultivating certain qualities of voice and suppressing others, Korean Christians strive to personally embody the social transformations promised by their religion: from superstition to enlightenment; from dictatorship to democracy; from sickness to health; from poverty to wealth; from dirtiness to cleanliness; from sadness to joy; from suffering to grace. Tackling the problematic of voice in anthropology and across a number of disciplines, Songs of Seoul develops an innovative semiotic approach to connecting the materiality of body and sound, the social life of speech and song, and the cultural voicing of perspective and personhood.
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