The Politics of Gender in Colonial Korea: Education, Labor, and Health, 1910-1945. This theoretically ambitious study examines how the "Korean woman" underwent a radical transformation in Korea's public discourse during the years of Japanese colonialism. Theodore Jun Yoo shows that as women moved out of their traditional spheres to occupy new positions in schools, factories, hospitals, and other sites, they increasingly confronted the pervasive control of the colonial state, which in turn sought to impose a kind of modernity on their ideas, relationships, social behaviour, and bodies. While some Korean women conformed to the dictates of colonial hegemony, others took deliberate pains to distinguish between what was "modern" (for example, Western clothing) and thus legitimate, and what was "Japanese" and thus illegitimate. Yoo argues that what made the experience of these women unique was the dual confrontation with modernity itself and with Japan as a colonial power. He shows that these women's self-images and self-definitions could not be separated from either the colonial context or the growing nationalist movement, while the new terrain they were venturing into was made all the more perilous by the power of surveillance.
The Politics of Gender in Colonial Korea
AuthorsJun Yoo, Theodore
PublisherUniversity of California Press