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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32010

Title: The Mudang: Gendered Discourses on Shamanism in Colonial Korea
Authors: Hwang, Merose
Advisor: Schmid, Andre
Song, Jesook
Poole, Janet
Department: East Asian Studies
Keywords: modern Korean history
women and gender
indigenous identity
Issue Date: 17-Jan-2012
Abstract: This dissertation examines the discursive production of mudang, also known as shamans, during the late Chosŏn Dynasty (eighteenth to nineteenth-centuries) and during the Japanese colonial period in Korea (1910-1945). The many discursive sites on mudang articulated various types of difference, often based on gender and urban/rural divides. This dissertation explores four bodies of work: eighteenth to nineteenth-century neo-Confucian reformist essays, late nineteenth-century western surveys of Korea, early twentieth-century newspapers and journals, and early ethnographic studies. The mudang was used throughout this period to reinforce gendered distinctions, prescribe spatial hierarchies, and promote capitalist modernity. In particular, institutional developments in shamanism studies under colonial rule, coupled with an expanded print media critique against mudang, signalled the needs and desires to pronounce a distinct indigenous identity under foreign rule. Chapter One traces three pre-colonial discursive developments, Russian research on Siberian shamanism under Catherine the Great, neo-Confucian writings on "mudang," and Claude Charles Dallet’s late nineteenth-century survey of Korean indigenous practices. Chapter Two examines the last decade of the nineteenth-century, studying the simultaneous emergence of Isabella Bird Bishop’s expanded discussion on Korean shamanism alongside early Korean newspapers’ social criticisms of mudang. Chapter Three looks at Korean newspapers and journals as the source and product of an urban discourse from 1920-1940. Chapter Four examines the same print media to consider why mudang were contrasted from women as ethical household consumers and scientific homemakers. Chapter Five looks at Ch’oe Nam-sŏn and Yi Nŭng-hwa’s 1927 treatises on Korean shamanism as a celebration of ethnic identity which became a form of intervention in an environment where Korean shamanism was used to justify colonial rule.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32010
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