[KS] Korea at Nature's Edge--Conference on the environment in Korea

Albert Park albert.park78 at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 17 18:11:54 EDT 2018

EnviroLab Asia at the Claremont Colleges and the UCI Centerfor Critical Korean Studies will be co-hosting a conference, “Korea at NaturesEdge,” which will be on environmental issues on the Korean peninsula on April19 and 20 at UC Irvine. Organized by Eleana Kim (UCI), David Fedman (UCI)and Albert L. Park (Claremont McKenna College), this conference is one of the first events to examine environmentalissues in Korea from different disciplinary angles.





Thursday, April 19, 2018


Humanities Gateway (room 1030),West Peltason Dr., Irvine, CA, 92697


Welcoming Remarks (8:45am): 


Kyung Hyun Kim, Albert Park, DavidFedman, & Eleana Kim


Panel1 (9-10am): Surveying the Physical Context 


Whatare the defining features of the geophysical context of the Korean peninsula?What challenges do they pose to the analysis of environmental issues on thepeninsula and how will our conference/edited volume address these challenges? 



Marc LosHuertos, Pomona College

PatrickFox, Swedish Red Cross 


Panel 2 (10-12pm): CultivatingKorea 


Agriculture has shaped life andlandscape on the peninsula for centuries. What historical actors and agentshave shaped agriculture production? What have been the larger implications ofagricultural regime shifts? How might we use agriculture as a lens intolocal/regional history in Korea? How do environmental issues around agricultureilluminate political, economic, and cultural issues in Korea?


Paper 1: “Cultivating the North: Agricultural Improvement andFrontier Settlement in Chosŏn Korea," WenjiaoCai, Harvard University


Paper 2:“Communal Environmentalism in the OrganicFarming Movement in South Korea, 1976-1994,” Yonjae Paik, AustraliaNational University


Discussant:Ann Sherif, Oberlin College


Break for Lunch


Panel 3 (1:30-3:30pm) Landscapeand Affect 


Conceptions of Korean nature tookshape in the minds of its residents as much as in the landscape itself. How,then, have Koreans in different periods imagines, visualized, or described thenatural world? How have Korean notions of landscape shaped their own sense ofnational identity and the peninsula’s place in the world?

Paper 1:“The Promise of the Wild:the Political Life of Jeju Island’s Indigenous Forest,” Jeongsu Shin, University of Illinois


Discussant: Margherita Long, University of California, Irvine


Friday, April 20, 2018


Humanities Gateway (room 1030),West Peltason Dr., Irvine, CA, 92697


Panel 4 (9-11am): GlobalInflections


People, ideas, natural resources,and diseases have flowed fluidly in and out of the peninsula for centuries. Itstands in many respects as a cross-cultural conduit of Northeast Asia. Whatrole has the Korean peninsula played in shaping transnational environmentaltrends, forces, or patterns? How might we use the peninsula as a lens intolarger environmental issues (such as industrial pollution or global warming)that transcend national boundaries? What does the study of Korea offer to thefield of environmental history more generally? 


Paper 1:“The Politics of Environmental History in North Korea: Between Developmentalismand Humanitarianism,” Suzy Kim (Rutgers University) & Ewa Erikkson (The RedCross)


Paper 2:“Global Ecologies, UnrulyEarthquakes, and South Korea’s Nuclear-Energy Entanglements,” Nan Kim, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee


Discussant:Youngmin Choe, University of Southern California


Panel 5 (1-3pm): Conservationand Conflict


Situated between China, Japan, andRussia, Korea has long been subject to imperial rivalries, occupation, andforeign war. Efforts to manage Korea’s natural resources have routinely spawnedconflict. How, then, have different governing structures approached naturalresource management? What have been the ecological consequences of theseconflicts? How are the legacies of war inscribed on the landscape?


Paper 1: “Outpost of Empire: The Mongol Origins of Korean Environments,” John S. Lee, Yale University


Paper 2: “Making Communal Rules onCollection of Forest Resources in the 20th Century,” Yi Uyŏn, Seoul NationalUniversity


Discussant:Char Miller, Pomona College


Panel 6 (3:30-5:30pm): Materialityand Modernization 


Amply endowed with naturalresources (including coal, timber, and gold), the Korean peninsula has longbeen viewed as a repository of materials essential for state-building. How havedifferent regimes viewed, managed, conserved, and exploited the Koreanlandscape and to what ends? How have the uses of Korea’s natural materialschanged over time and how in turn has this shaped the evolution of Korea’smaterial culture?  


Paper 1: “Dammed Fish: Japanese Hydropower, Korean Expertise,and the Remaking of a Piscatorial Periphery at the Yalu River,”Joseph Seeley, Stanford University


Paper 2: “What's in a name: the discursive construction of wastework in South Korea,” Hyojin Pak, LeidenUniversity


Discussant: Sunyoung Park, University of SouthernCalifornia



AlbertL. Park
Co-PrincipalInvestigator for EnviroLab Asia (http://envirolabasia.claremont.edu/)and Associate Professor of History at Claremont McKenna College (The ClaremontColleges)

AssociateEditor for the Journal of Asian Studies (JAS)—Korea

Chairof NEAC (Northeast Asia Council , AAS), 2018-2019


Buildinga Heaven on Earth: Religion, Activism and Protest in Japanese Occupied Korea: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/p-9354-9780824839659.aspx

EncounteringModernity: Christianity in East Asia and Asian America: http://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/p-9135-9780824839475.aspx

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