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Carlo Rossetti’s photographs as social and historical narratives

Continuing this term’s series of seminars at SOAS:

Carlo Rossetti’s photographs as social and historical narratives about Korea at the beginning of the 20th century

Assistant Professor Giuseppina De Nicola (Sapienza University of Rome)
1 February 2019, 5:15 – 7:00 PM
SOAS, Brunei Gallery Room: B104 | Online Registration required

Rosetti photograph collection


Italy first established its diplomatic relations with Korea in 1884 and opened its consulate in Seoul in the same year. In 1902, Carlo Rossetti was appointed Consul to Korea and, despite serving there for a relatively brief period (from November 1902 to May 1903), he was able to gather a significant amount of material on social, economic, geographical and cultural aspects of Korea. This material included books, papers, and documents that offer a detailed and comprehensive picture of the Korean territory and society. In addition, he used his camera to capture several aspects of Korean life at that time. Hence, this study examines Carlo Rossetti’s photographic collection to understand how the Western perspective of this observer has filtered and shaped the perception of Korea and its historical narrative.

Speaker Biography

Giuseppina De Nicola graduated from “L’Orientale” University of Naples in Italy with a specialization in Social and Political History. She has got her PhD in Anthropology of History at Seoul National University in South Korea. Currently she is teaching History of Korean Civilization at Sapienza University of Rome. She has also thought for several years as visiting professor for the Summer School in South Korea.

Her field of interest is mainly in Korean Social history, Contemporary Korean society issues, Korean family study and Anthropology of memory. She is actually secretary of AKSE (Association of Korean Studies in Europe).

Some of her publications include. North Korea, the Neverland Empire: reality, imagination and representations (2006 book) Obarrao, Symbolism and domestic use of space in Korean housing (2012), Quaderni Asiatici Journal, vol 100, Milan. “Kohyang”: Remembering where I am from :The concept of place of origin in the elaboration of collective and individual memory in South Korea, CEESOK Journal 2016 Moskow. The Korean society and its family system from old times until today (2018 FrancoAngeli, book).


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