Department of History / Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
University of California at Merced, United States
Session Abstract: The contemporary Jeju landscape has been undergoing tremendous changes in recent years. Starting with the Chungmun tourist complex, Jeju Island’s first mega development project in 1971, the island has gone through many iterations of transformation, from a domestic honeymooners’ paradise, to an aspiring international tourism hub, and most recently to the center of a neoliberal global development project called the “Jeju Free International City.” The precipitous influx of domestic and international migration and capital in recent years have refashioned the island from Korea’s exotic periphery to a global “fantasy island” (Sze 2015).
Within this context, the Jeju natural and cultural landscape has become a depository of dreams at many different political, economic and social levels. This panel aims to explore the wide array of desires and imaginaries that are currently refashioning and reconstituting Jeju Island. By highlighting the way that these desires by turns converge, overlap and collide, this panel moves beyond the purity and ruin dichotomy that often drives discussions of landscape.
In engaging with landscape conceptually, this panel makes the case that landscape is not simply a site of loss and degradation in the age of development, but rather a space that is both materially and symbolically remade at various levels by the imaginaries and desires of those who enjoy, fear, engage with, utilize, personify, commodify and abstract it. In doing so, it contributes to the burgeoning field of Jeju Studies and to Korean Studies discussions of neoliberalization and development, regionalism, and the nature/culture relationship.
Paper Presenter: Youjeong Oh – University of Texas at Austin
Paper Presenter: Tommy Tran – University of California at Merced
Paper Presenter: Agnes Jordan – Indiana University
Paper Presenter: Jeongsu Shin – University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign