UCLA International Institute

Constructed Places / Contested Spaces: Critical Geographies in Korea

May 14-16, 2004, Royce Hall 314, UCLA

Conference Participants Website

Conference Overview

The Critical Geographies in Korea project will culminate with a large gathering of scholars from across the world to present the results of our two years of focus on the concept of Critical Geographies as applied to our own areas of research in Korea and Asia. The presenters come from a wide range of disciplines including history, anthropology, geography, literature, religion, folklore and cultural studies.

The three day conference is intended to provide an intensive forum for the exploration of intersections between these disciplines focusing on critical approaches to “geography” widely conceived. While the primary focus is on Korea, several presenters will provide important comparative studies based on work in Japan, Singapore and among populations of the Korean diaspora. The conference papers will be edited into a volume that will represent the first such exploration of Critical Geographies in Korea.

Understanding how people use space—and invest space with meaning—has become a topic of great importance in the fields of cultural studies, geography, ethnography, anthropology, history and literature, not to mention fields such as economics and political science. Exploring how people negotiate their identities and interests in and through space/ place is also an issue of increasing import. This is particularly true in Asia where the geographies of transnationalism and globalization are being played out with profound spatial and cultural consequences. One such consequence is the marked increase in the movement of people throughout the region, bringing people from disparate cultures into closer proximity, either in the real world or in the virtual world. Globalization has also brought to the fore concerns of both cultural homogenization and neocolonialism in East Asia. Many of the responses to these changes are being expressed variously through social movements and democratic struggles, ethnic/national and cultural revivals, and the forging of new, hybrid cultures. These changes all occur in space and many are fundamentally about space itself. New uses and meanings are attached to places both physically (as they are occupied and reconstructed) and figuratively (as they are reimagined, reinterpreted and articulated). These "critical geographies" emerge to challenge, subvert and resist other, dominant meanings in profound and significant ways. Consequently, the way that people interpret the space around them is a critical issue in our understanding of the current changes in Asia. Although these processes inform the interaction of peoples throughout the region, we propose an intensive study of these processes in Korea, both from a synchronic and a diachronic perspective. These perspectives will be augmented with several examples from other East Asian countries not as an exhaustive description of these phenomena but rather as a means to open a comparative dialogue while maintaining a critical focus on Korea.

Conference Schedule

The first two days of the conference are free and open to the public, although seating is limited.

Friday, May 14, 2004 Royce Hall 314

1. Intro to conference 8:30
2. First paper session 9:00-10:30
3. Coffee 10:30-11:00
4. Second paper session 11:00-12:30
5. Lunch 12:30-2
6. Third paper session 2:00-3:30
7. Coffee 3:30-4
8. Fourth paper session 4-5:30

Saturday, May 15, 2004 Royce Hall 314

1. First paper session 9:00-10:30
2. Coffee 10:30-11:00
3. Second paper session 11:00-12:30
4. Lunch 12:30-2
5. Third paper session 2:00-3:30
6. Coffee 3:30-4
7. Fourth paper session 4-5:30
8. Final remarks 5:30-6
9. Late dinner in Koreatown 8:00

Sunday, May 16, 2004 Royce Hall 306

1. Conference wrap-up and publication plans 10-noon

Presenters include:

Prof. Sallie Yea, RMIT University
Prof. Tim Tangherlini, UCLA
Prof. Jehun Ryu, Korea National Univ. of Education
Prof. Donald Baker, University of British Columbia
Prof. Laurel Kendall, American Museum of Natural History and Columbia Univ.
Prof. Sheila Jager, Oberlin College
Prof. Nancy Abelmann, Univ. Illinois
Prof. Laura Nelson, CSU Hayward
Prof. David Nemeth, Univ. Toledo
Prof. Michael Pettid, SUNY, Binghamtom
Prof. Michael Bourdaghs, UCLA
Prof. Stefan Tanaka, UCSD
Prof. Jesook Song, Univ. of Toronto
Prof. Hyungil Pai, UCSB
Hijoo Son, UCLA
Carol Medlico, UCLA
Mark Nathan, UCLA
Jong Heon Jin, UCLA
Pow Choon Piew, UCLA
Todd Henry, UCLA


Prof. Nick Entrikin, UCLA
Prof. Michael Curry, UCLA
Prof. Namhee Lee, UCLA

Conference Participants Website

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UCLA Asia Institute
UCLA International