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Over the past decades, Korea has gradually risen to become one of the global representatives of Asian culture. Korean artists have been increasingly active at an international level, with many being invited for residencies and exhibitions all over the world. Nonetheless, for various reasons, the general understanding of Korean contemporary art remains insufficient.
Although a few overviews of Korean contemporary art do exist, they typically focus on the history of art groups and movements. In addition, several anthologies have been published with articles on a range of topics, offering multiple perspectives. However, there have been few attempts to provide a unified synopsis of Korean contemporary art.
Presenting a comprehensive, engaging survey that covers the full spectrum of Korean contemporary art, Korean Art since 1945: Challenges and Changes seeks to fill this lacuna. Drawing on primary sources, it discusses the main issues, including the ideological stakes that affected the art world, modernist art vs. political art, and the fluidity of concepts such as tradition and national identity. Moreover, the book also has a chapter on the art of North Korea. Korean Art since 1945: Challenges and Changes is an invaluable tool for those intent on grasping the entire scope of modern art in Asia.
Author:
This book is a comparative exploration of the impact of a celebrated Chinese historical novel, the Sanguozhi yanyi (Three Kingdoms) on the popular culture of Korea since its dissemination in the sixteenth century.
It elucidates not only the reception of Chinese fiction in Chosŏn Korea (1392–1910), but also the fascinating ways in which this particular story lives on in modern Korea. The author specifically explores the dissemination, adaptations, and translations of the work to elucidate how Three Kingdoms has spoken to Korean readers. In short, this book shows how a quintessentially Chinese work equally developed into a Korean work.
Volume Editor:
Sheldon Pollock’s work on the history of literary cultures in the ‘Sanskrit Cosmopolis’ broke new ground in the theorization of historical processes of vernacularization and served as a wake-up call for comparative approaches to such processes in other translocal cultural formations. But are his characterizations of vernacularization in the Sinographic Sphere accurate, and do his ideas and framework allow us to speak of a ‘Sinographic Cosmopolis’? How do the special typology of sinographic writing and associated technologies of vernacular reading complicate comparisons between the Sankrit and Latinate cosmopoleis? Such are the questions tackled in this volume.

Contributors are Daehoe Ahn, Yufen Chang, Wiebke Denecke, Torquil Duthie, Marion Eggert, Greg Evon, Hoduk Hwang, John Jorgensen, Ross King, David Lurie, Alexey Lushchenko, Si Nae Park, John Phan, Mareshi Saito, and S. William Wells.
The Lives and Legacy of Kim Sisŭp (1435–1493) offers an account of the most extraordinary figure of Korean literature and intellectual history. The present work narrates the fascinating story of a prodigious child, acclaimed poet, author of the first Korean novel, Buddhist monk, model subject, Confucian recluse and Daoist master. No other Chosŏn scholar or writer has been venerated in both Confucian shrines and Buddhist temples, had his works widely read in Tokugawa Japan and became an integral part of the North Korean literary canon.
The nine studies and further materials presented in this volume provide a detailed look on the various aspects of Kim Sisŭp’s life and work as well as a reflection of both traditional and modern narratives surrounding his legacy. Contributors are: Vladimír Glomb, Gregory N. Evon, Dennis Wuerthner, Barbara Wall, Kim Daeyeol, Miriam Löwensteinová, Anastasia A. Guryeva, Sixiang Wang, and Diana Yüksel.
Editors: and
Education, the production of knowledge, identity formation, and ideological hegemony are inextricably linked in early modern and modern Korea. This study examines the production and consumption of knowledge by a multitude of actors and across languages, texts, and disciplines to analyze the formulation, contestation, and negotiation of knowledge. The production and dissemination of knowledge become sites for contestation and struggle—sometimes overlapping, at other times competing—resulting in a shift from a focus on state power and its control over knowledge and discourse to an analysis of local processes of knowledge production and the roles local actors play in them. Contributors are Daniel Pieper, W. Scott Wells, Yong-Jin Hahn, Furukawa Noriko, Lim Sang Seok, Kokubu Mari, Mark Caprio, Deborah Solomon, and Yoonmi Lee.
Editor / Translator:
Chŏng Yagyong (1762-1836), or simply Tasan, is a prolific poet and one of the most brilliant minds in Korean history but remains unknown as a person.This book introduces his life through his own auto-biographical poems translated into English for the first time.
Here we find him struggling between love of learning and exam hell, between aristocratic pride and economic hardship, between Catholic sympathies and Confucian heritage, and finally between two women.
Astonishingly open about himself for his time and class, this vivid portrait of his is a triumph of self-expression the likes of which we have not seen in premodern Korean literature.
Twentieth-Century Transformations in Korea’s Film and Transportation
Author:
In 1916, a group of Korean farmers and their children gathered to watch a film depicting the enthronement of the Japanese emperor. For this screening, a unit of the colonial government’s news agency brought a projector and generator by train to their remote rural town. Before the formation of commercial moviegoing culture for colonial audiences in rural Korean towns, many films were sent to such towns and villages as propaganda. The colonial authorities, as well as later South Korean postcolonial state authorities, saw film as the most effective medium for disseminating their political messages. In Cine-Mobility, Han Sang Kim argues that the force of propaganda films in Korea was derived primarily not from their messages but from the new mobility of the viewing position.

From the first film shot in Korea in 1901 through early internet screen cultures in late 1990s South Korea, Cine-Mobility explores the association between cinematic media and transportation mobility, not only in diverse and discrete forms such as railroads, motorways, automobiles, automation, and digital technologies, but also in connection with the newly established rules and restrictions and the new culture of mobility, including changes in gender dynamics, that accompanied it.
Transmedia Storytelling, Digital Platforms, and Genres
Author:
Webtoons—a form of comic that are typically published digitally in chapter form—are the latest manifestation of the Korean Wave of popular culture that has increasingly caught on across the globe, especially among youth. Originally distributed via the Internet, they are now increasingly distributed through smartphones to ravenous readers in Korea and around the world.

The rise of webtoons has fundamentally altered the Korean cultural market due to the growth of transmedia storytelling—the flow of a story from the original text to various other media platforms, such as films, television, and digital games—and the convergence of cultural content and digital technologies. Fans can enjoy this content anytime and anywhere, either purely as webtoons or as webtoon-based big-screen culture.

Understanding Korean Webtoon Culture analyzes webtoons through the lens of emerging digital cultures and discusses relevant cultural perspectives by combining two different, yet connected approaches, political economy and cultural studies. The book demonstrates the dynamics between structural forces and textual engagement in global media flows, and it illuminates snack-culture and binge-reading as two new forms of digital culture that webtoon platforms capitalize on to capture people’s shifting media consumption.
In Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison, the chapters offer a reflection on the state of the field of Taiwan and Korea Studies. For the editors, the volume’s purpose was to identify not just their similarities, but also a reflection on their differences. Both have national identities formed in a colonial period. The surrender of Japan in 1945 ignited the light of independence for Korea, but this would be ideologically split within five years. For Taiwan, that end forced it into a born-again form of nationalism with the arrival of the Chinese Nationalists.

Taiwan and South Korea’s economic development illustrate a progressive transition and key to understanding this is the relationship between ‘modernization’ and ‘democracy’. By looking at Korea and Taiwan, the chapters in the volume broaden an understanding of the interconnectivity of the region.
Volume Editors: , , and
Since the early 1980s, Korea’s financial development has been a tale of liberalization and opening. After the 1997 financial crisis, great strides were made in building a market-oriented financial system through sweeping reforms for deregulation and the opening of financial markets. However, the new system failed to steer the country away from a credit card boom and bust in 2003, a liquidity crisis in 2008, and a run on its savings banks in 2011, and has been severely tested again by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Financial liberalization, clearly, has been no panacea.

This study analyzes the deepening of and structural changes in Korea’s financial system since the early 1980s and presents the empirical results of the effects of financial development on economic growth, stability, and the distribution of income. It finds that, contrary to conventional wisdom, financial liberalization has contributed little to fostering the growth and stability of the Korean economy and has exacerbated income distribution problems. Are there any merits in financial liberalization? The authors answer this query through empirical examinations of the theories of finance and growth. They point to a clear need to further improve the efficiency, soundness, and stability of Korean financial institutions and markets.