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Monuments, Memory, and Identity

Podoler, Guy

Monuments, Memory, and Identity

Constructing the Colonial Past in South Korea

Series: Welten Ostasiens / Worlds of East Asia / Mondes de l'Extrême-Orient - Volume 18

Year of Publication: 2011

Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. 272 pp., num. ill.
ISBN 978-3-0343-0660-7 hb.  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.550 kg, 1.213 lbs

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Book synopsis

Between 1910 and 1945 Korea was subjected to Japanese colonial rule. Monuments, Memory, and Identity investigates ways how postcolonial South Korea commemorated this difficult past in light of changing political and social conditions, and against the background of the divided nation. By analyzing museums, memorial halls, parks and monuments, the author deciphers and maps the South Korean commemorative landscape. He analyzes the layouts of the country’s well-known «sites of memory» and explores the on-site plaques, exhibits, and photos as well as the booklets and publications. This book underpins the shifts and trends in recollecting this important historical period by addressing the following questions: How has postcolonial South Korea been constructing and reconstructing its colonial past? Why were certain narratives and images chosen at different times? What debates, controversies, and challenges were involved in this dynamic process? Furthermore, the author discusses the South Korean case within the broader context of the postcolonial discourse.


Contents: Constructing Korean roots and an heroic past – Images of the colonial past – The structure of patriotism – Politics of South Korean tangible history.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Guy Podoler is Lecturer at the Department of Asian Studies of the University of Haifa in Israel where he teaches modern and contemporary Korean history. He received his PhD degree in East Asian Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2005. His publications and research areas include Korean memory politics, identity formation, and sports nationalism.


Worlds of East Asia. Vol. 18
Edited by Wolfgang Behr, David Chiavacci, Robert H. Gassmann, Eduard Klopfenstein, Andrea Riemenschnitter, Pierre-François Souyri, Christian Steineck and Nicolas Zufferey