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[Non-CKS] Conceptions of Boundary in the 19th Century

For Whom the Line is Drawn: Korean Indigenous Conceptions of Boundary in the 19th Century and Changes in the Colonial Period

[Non-CKS] Conceptions of Boundary in the 19th Century

Image provided by Dr. Sora Kim.

Join the Choson History Society in welcoming Dr. Sora Kim for a presentation on Conceptions of Boundary in the 19th Century.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM (Pacific Time)

Modern law treats land as real estate, subject to rights of ownership. Land must be immobile and clearly partitioned. Pieces of land are described on cadastral maps, with a link to a unique and permanent location. Yet, before the advent of modern law, how did people recognize each piece of land? The Joseon dynasty made numerous maps and conducted various land surveys. However, there was no sense that land should be divided by drawing lines on paper. Beyond a mere object of ownership, land was considered a basis for feeding humans. Hence, conceptions of land existed in by-play with human activity. Boundaries could not be drawn without consideration of local conditions such as the status of cultivation. Dr. Sora Kim's paper will demonstrate the Korean indigenous senses of boundary in the nineteenth century. The Gwangmu Land Register will be compared with land registers and cadastral maps from the Japanese colonial period to reveal key characteristics of late Joseon conceptions of land demarcation. Dr. Kim will show how boundaries shifted between humans and land, among plots, and within Korean society. Moreover, she will highlight how new types of land demarcations in turn separated humans from their environment and reconceived land as immovable (real) estate.

  To register for the event, click here.


Sora Kim (Ph.D. Seoul National University 2021) is a Koreanist who explores the socio-economic history of Joseon Dynasty. She is trying to interpret historical phenomenon from the perspective of the people who lived at the time. Land Registers after the eighteenth century are mainly analyzed via comparative methodology with modern registers using specially developed software. She is specialized in land taxation mechanisms and principles in the late Joseon Dynasty. Also, uncovering the meaning of land itself and the perception of space of the people in the dynasty are important research topics. She is currently working as a curator & researcher (학예연구사) at the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies, Seoul National University.


The Choson History Society (CHS) is a public learned society fostering the study, research, and teaching of Korea’s past by connecting scholars working both outside and inside the professional academy.

It provides opportunities for scholars who are operating independently or are otherwise under-resourced to share research and generate in their work. The CHS will also connect these scholars with one another, fostering a network for shared interests. Through talks, workshops, public lectures and other events, CHS will develop and host public resources for the study, research, and teaching of Korea’s past. To join the society, please click here.


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