Korea Lecture Series – Refashioning Women’s Sphere in the Korea Mission Field, 1880s-1920s

Korea Lecture Series -- Refashioning Women's Sphere in the Korea Mission Field, 1880s-1920s

Hyaeweol Choi - Associate Professor of Korean Studies, Arizona State University

Wednesday, March 1, 2006 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Room 312, Hall of Graduate Studies (HGS) See map
320 York Street
New Haven, CT 6511

American women missionaries enjoy unique status as pioneers who introduced “modern” womanhood to Korea in the late 19th century when they established schools and hospitals specifically for girls and women for the first time in Korean history. Yet very few research studies have examined how American missionary women themselves perceived “modern” womanhood, and more importantly, how their own understanding of the modern intersected with western modernity, Confucian gender ideology, and Korean nationalism in the face of Japanese colonial expansion at the turn of the twentieth century. Locating the encounters between Koreans and American women missionaries within a specific historical context where the missionaries’ desire to “civilize” the Other confronted with the Koreans’ mandate to build a modern nation-state, Professor Choi’s presentation will specifically focus on the ways in which the Victorian womanhood cherished by women missionaries and Confucian-prescribed gender norms of Korea were measured, contested and negotiated in refashioning an ideal womanhood for the modern era.