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In Session: Domestic Spaces in Korea: Reconfiguring Historical Narratives
1: Temporary Domesticity: Creating Home Away From Home in Korea from the 1880s through the 1910s
Thursday, March 25, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
Yu Jung Lee
Yonsei University, Republic of Korea
This presentation examines the lifestyles and modern material culture created and consumed by Americans resided in the foreign settlement in the 1890s’ Korea. This period was when the modern products began to flow into directly Korea before they were transformed into a Japanese style. In this paper, the term ‘modern commodity’ is referred to as a new form of material culture that appeared for the purpose of mass production and consumption in the mid- and late-nineteenth century. It focuses on the Western settlement as a hub for the consumption and distribution of modern commodities in Korean society. American middle-class missionaries and their families were majority in the Western population in Korea at that time and they put lots of efforts to create an American home in Korea where they hardly found modern facilities. There were several routes that American productions were shipped and imported into the ports of Korea. This presentation examines the ways in which such products as building materials, furniture, food materials, ingredients, and interior accessories were supplied and circulated in order to create a American domesticity in Korea. Focusing on the American middle-class missionary home and their material culture provoked by imperialism, industrialization and mass production/consumption, this paper pays attentions to the early process of distribution and consumption of the American products in the 1890s’ Korea.