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Online Workshop and Book Launch: Invented Traditions in North and South Korea

One of the more interesting-looking academic titles published last year (in November) was this one. You’ll have to wait until August this year for the more affordable paperback version, but to whet your appetite in the meanwhile there’s a useful session later this month to introduce the global audience to the book’s individual chapters. Each contributor to the book will be talking about their specialist subject.

Inevitably there’s a small amount of inconvenience involved for readers in some timezones, but if you’re an early riser in the UK the schedule is pretty much ideal: an early start, with a two-hour break in the middle so that you can listen to Radio 3’s Record Review live with a coffee and croissant before returning for a second two-hour slot that will take you to lunchtime.

Invented Traditions in North and South Korea

29 January 2022 7am – 1:10pm UK Time
(8:00am – 2:10pm CET | 4pm-10:10pm Korea | 6pm-12:10 AEDT)
Register in advance to receive the zoom link.
Andrew David Jackson | Remco Breuker | Codruța Sîntionean | CedarBough Saeji
Andrew Logie | Don Baker | Eunseon Kim | Andreas Schirmer | Laurel Kendall | Maria Osetrova | Keith Howard | Jan Creutzenberg | Robert Winstanley-Chesters

Invented Traditions

Join the authors and editors for a unique workshop highlighting each chapter in Invented Traditions in North and South Korea. The workshop will be divided into four panels according to the four sections of the volume;

  1. Reimagining Tradition: History and Religion,
  2. Rewriting Tradition: Language,
  3. Consuming and Performing Tradition: Music, Food, and Crafts, and
  4. Embodying Tradition: Spaces.

Each will be introduced by the section editor and then the contributors will provide a ten minute overview of their chapter, followed by a group discussion with opportunities for questions.

Book summary

Invented TraditionsAlmost forty years after the publication of Hobsbawm and Ranger’s The Invention of Tradition, the subject of invented traditions – cultural and historical practices that claim a continuity with a distant past but which are in fact of relatively recent origin – is still relevant, important, and highly contentious. Invented Traditions in North and South Korea examines the ways in which compressed modernity, Cold War conflict, and ideological opposition has impacted the revival of traditional forms in both Koreas.

The volume is divided thematically into sections covering: (1) history, religions, (2) language, (3) music, food, crafts, and fmally, (4) space. It includes chapters on pseudo-histories, new religions, linguistic politeness, literary Chinese, p ‘ansori, heritage, North Korean food, architecture, and the invention of children’s pilgrimages in the DPRK. As the first comparative study of invented traditions in North and South Korea, the book takes the reader on a journey through Korea’s epic twentieth century, examining the revival of culture in the context of colonialism, decolonization, national division, dictatorship, and modernization. The book investigates what it describes as “monumental” invented traditions formulated to maintain order, loyalty, and national identity during periods of political upheaval as well as cultural revivals less explicitly connected to political power. Invented Traditions in North and South Korea demonstrates that invented traditions can teach us a great deal about the twentieth-century political and cultural trajectories of the two Koreas. With contributions from historians, sociologists, folklorists, scholars of perfonnance, and anthropologists, this volume will prove invaluable to Koreanists, as well as teachers and students of Korean and Asian studies undergraduate courses.


Panel One Volume introduction and section one: Reimagining Tradition: History and Religion

7am UK time (6 pm in Melbourne, Australian Eastern Daylight Time AEDT) 9 am in Finland (Eastern European Time, EET), 8 am in the Netherlands (Central European Time, CET), 11 pm in Vancouver (Pacific Standard Time, PST note: January 28′ in Canada)

7:00-7:10: Andrew David Jackson (Monash) and Section editor’s introduction Remco Breuke: Introductory comments: Invented Traditions in Korea-Contention and Internationalization

7:10-7:20: Remco Breuker (Leiden): Authenticating the Past: Filling in Gaps with the Tan’gi kosa

7:20-7:30: Andrew Logie (Helsinki): Enticement of Ancient Empire: Historicized Mythology and (Post)colonial Conspiracies in the Construction of Korean Pseudohistory

7:30-7:40: Don Baker (UBC): Imagining Ancient Korean Religion: Sŏndo, Tan’gun, and the Earth Goddess

7:40-8:00: Group discussion with Q & A from panel and audience

Panel two: Rewriting Tradition: Language

8am UK time (7 pm AEDT; 9 am CET)

8:00-8:10 Section editors’ Introduction Remco Breuker and Andrew David Jackson

8:10-8:20: Eunseon Kim (ANU): The Language of the “Nation of Propriety in the East” (東方禮儀之國)? The Ideological History of the Korean Culture of Politeness

8:20-8:30: Andreas Schirmer (Olomouc): Re-invented in Translation? Korean Literature in Literary Chinese as one Epitome of Endangered Cultural Heritage

8:30-8:50: Group discussion with Q & A from panel and audience

Two-hour Break

Panel four: Embodying Tradition: Spaces (note, section four is before section three)

11am UK time (10 pm AEDT; 1 pm EET)

11:00-11:10: Section editor’s introduction Codruta Sintionean (Cluj-Napoca)

11:10-11:20: Codruta Sintionean: Spatializing Tradition: The Remaking of Historic Sites under Park Chung Hee

11:20-11:30: Robert Winstanley-Chesters (Leeds): Rematerializing the Political Past: The Annual Schoolchildren’s March and North Korean Invented Traditions

11:30-11:50: Group discussion with Q & A from panel and audience

Panel three: Consuming and Performing Tradition: Music, Food and Crafts

12 noon UK time (11 pm AEDT, 9 pm in Korea, 7 am EST, 1 pm CET)
12:00-12:10: Section editor’s introduction CedarBough Saeji (Pusan National)

12:10-12:20: Maria Osetrova (Moscow State Linguistic University): The State Leader as Inventor of Food Traditions in the DPRK

12:20-12:30: Keith Howard (SOAS): Tradition as Construction: Embedding Form in Two Korean Music Genres

12:30-12:40: Jan Creutzenberg (Ewha): Making Masters, Performing Genealogy: Full-length P’ansori as an Invented Tradition

12:40-12:50: Laurel Kendall (American Museum of Natural History): Split-Bamboo Comb: Heritage, Memory, and the Space In-between

12:50-13:10: Group discussion with Q & A from panel and audience


(automatically generated) You can find a video of this event on Cedarbough Saeji's YouTube channel, here.

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