Nanjido: (Un)covering the Trash Mountains

Nanjido: (Un)covering the Trash Mountains

Se-Mi Oh - Assistant Professor of Modern Korean History, University of Michigan

Tuesday, March 7, 2023 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
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Room 203, Henry R. Luce Hall See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511

This presentation tells a story of Nanjido – how an island that served as a landfill for Seoul from 1978 to 1993 was transformed into an ecological park called World Cup Park in preparation for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. It discusses how this mega-event instigated an urban planning focusing on ecological restoration and urban regeneration and how the history of Nanjido was subsequently framed as the undoing of the industrial past of the city, most notably seen in its waste management. The story of this contested space is told through a close reading of two documentary sources: The Millennium Park Master Plan (2000) and Memories of the Park: The World Cup Park (2020). Through the reading of a master plan that articulates a vision for the future and an archive that systematically gazes toward the past, this presentation seeks to unpack the narrative of this strange space, where preindustrial, industrial, and postindustrial histories simultaneously coexist and cancel each other out.


Se-Mi Oh is Assistant Professor of Modern Korean History in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on the architectural and urban practices of Seoul and explores the relationship between space and history writing. She is the author of City of Sediments: A History of Seoul in the Age of Colonialism (Stanford University Press, forthcoming), which examines the relationship between language, text, and media to trace the discursive formation of modernity and colonialism in the urban space of Seoul in the 1920s. 

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Korea