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Koo, Lina Shinhwa (2022) 'Structuring Hierarchies: Archaeological and Museum Projects of the Government-General of Korea and its Colonial Legacy.' The SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research, 14 (2020-2021). pp. 90-112.

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Imperial Japan planned and executed a series of archaeological surveys, excavation projects and museum displays in Korea throughout the first half of the twentieth century. The cultural projects led by the Government-General of Korea, the chief administrator of the Japanese colonial government, carried out various tenets of global imperialism and coloniality. For instance, the colonial government used particular display methods to structure the hierarchical order of ‘inferior’ and ‘superior’ cultures and turned historical objects to materials for mere aesthetic appreciation or knowledge acquisition. In addition, Imperial Japan sought to justify its colonial governance over the Korean peninsula by using excavated and displayed objects as the historical basis for their claims. As such, Imperial Japan’s excavation and museum projects were implemented as political apparatus that generated and circulated the colonial narrative. Such colonial legacy has exerted influences on the scholarship of and exhibitions on Korean art despite vigorous attempts to deconstruct the narrative and de-colonise museum practices. By examining images and documents provided by Japanese archaeologists and the Government-General of Korea, this paper aims to interrogate the extent to which Imperial Japan devised cultural essentialism whilst suggesting a new perspective to mediate the exploitive practices in the present time.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Government-General of Korea, colonial museum, colonial archaeology, Japanese imperialism, cultural essentialism, visual politics
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts
SOAS Open Access Journals > The SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research
ISSN: 25176226
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2022 11:40

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