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Institute for Asian Studies lecture: "Staging 'Koreana' for the Tourist: Legacies of Native Types & Must-See Destinations"
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 6:00pm
Institute for Asian Studies lecture:  "Staging 'Koreana' for the Tourist: Legacies of Native Types & Must-See Destinations"

PSU Institute for Asian Studies Quarterly Korean Lecture Series

Hyung-Il Pai, Professor at the East Asian Department of Language & Cultural Studies, University of California - Santa Barbara

Staging Koreana for the Tourist: The Visual Legacies of "Native Types and Must-See Destinations"

Location: PSU campus, 5th Ave. Cinema Building, room 92 (510 SW Hall St.)

Visages of deposed royals, Yangban officials, seductive kisaeng, quaint peasants, and innocent street urchins framed by scenic palace gardens, gates, shrines, and temples are most recognized tourist images representing the antiquity, authenticity, and beauty of Old Korea. This paper traces the disciplinary, cultural, and ideological biases inherent in the creation, dissemination, and curating of stock images of "native types and places" dating back to the turn of the century when the first mass produced ethnographic sketches, postcard views and tourist photographs appeared in Colonial Government - General of Korea produced archaeological reports, museum catalogues, newspapers, photo-albums, exposition postcards, and textbooks. Contextualizing the aesthetic, scientific, and commercial knowledge contained in this early body of travel archives now being amassed by museum curators for preservation and public exhibition is critical to understanding how the visual and cultural legacies of colonial racism and shared imperialists' nostalgia targeting the tastes, desires, and expectations of the globe-trotter, leisure tourist, and curio-collector have contributed to the formation of the highly romanticized and commodified images of the "Hermit Kingdom" we are all familiar with today.

This topic is pertinent today because the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO), Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) and heritage destinations are currently recycling these century old visions of "Time-less Korea" to lure a new demographic of the ten million in-bound tourists arriving from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and increasingly the PRC.  The paper concludes with an analysis of the latest KTO produced web-based video ad campaigns re-enacting the "Nostalgic Korean Subjects and Spaces" as live musical theatre performed at drama shooting locations.


Hyung Il Pai (Ph.D. Anthropology, Harvard University) is professor at the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara.  She is the author of "Constructing Korean Origins: A Critical Review of Archaeology, Historiography and Racial Myth in Korean State Formation Theories" (Harvard University Asia Center 2000) and co-editor of "Nationalism and the Construction of Korean Identity," (University of California, Berkeley East Asia Monograph Series 1998).  She has published on a wide range of topics related to the politics and history of East Asia archaeology, museum studies, heritage management, history of photography, tourism and culture contact and change in international journals.  Her book Heritage Management in Japan and Korea: THe Politics of Antiquity and Identity is currently in press (expected Fall 2013) with the University of Washington Press Korea Series.  Her future projects include visual culture, tourism studies, the heritage industry and the Korean Wave in the Republic of Korea and Japan from comparative perspective.

This lecture event is free and open to the public

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This program is part of Portland State's ongoing Quarterly Korea Program Series, coordinated by the Institute for Asian Studies and is made possible by the PSU Korean Studies Program Endowment  established by the late Portland-area, Korean-American businessman, Mr. Jay Lee,  with continued support from individuals, families, and corporations in our local community.  

Your tax-deductible contribution to the PSU Korean Studies Program Endowment helps ensure ongoing support for quality programs at Portland State about Korea.       [download a Donation Form >]



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