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Invented Traditions in North and South Korea

Almost 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 finally, (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 performance, and anthropologists, this volume will prove invaluable to Koreanists, as well as teachers and students of Korean and Asian studies undergraduate courses.

Source: publisher’s website:


Invented Traditions in Korea – Contention and Internationalization | Andrew David Jackson

Section 1: Reimagining Tradition: History and Religion

Introduction | Remco Breuker
Chapter 1. Authenticating the Past: Filling in Gaps with the Tan’gi kosa | Remco Breuker
Chapter 2. Enticement of Ancient Empire: Historicized Mythology and (Post)colonial Conspiracies in the Construction of Korean Pseudohistory | Andrew Logie
Chapter 3. Imagining Ancient Korean Religion: Sŏndo, Tan’gun, and the Earth Goddess | Don Baker

Section 2: Rewriting Tradition: Language

Introduction | Andrew David Jackson and Remco Breuker
Chapter 4. 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 | Eunseon Kim
Chapter 5. Re-invented in Translation? Korean Literature in Literary Chinese as one Epitome of Endangered Cultural Heritage | Andreas Schirmer

Section 3: Consuming and Performing Tradition: Music, Food and Crafts

Introduction | CedarBough Saeji
Chapter 6. Split-Bamboo Comb: Heritage, Memory, and the Space In-between | Laurel Kendall
Chapter 7. Tradition as Construction: Embedding Form in Two Korean Music Genres | Keith Howard
Chapter 8. Making Masters, Performing Genealogy: Full-length P’ansori as an Invented Tradition | Jan Creutzenberg
Chapter 9. The State Leader as Inventor of Food Traditions in the DPRK | Maria Osetrova

Section 4: Embodying Tradition: Spaces

Introduction by Codruța Sîntionean
Chapter 10. Spatializing Tradition: The Remaking of Historic Sites under Park Chung Hee | Codruța Sîntionean
Chapter 11. Rematerializing the Political Past: The Annual Schoolchildren’s March and North Korean Invented Traditions | Robert Winstanley-Chesters

Entry on here.

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