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Assimilating SeoulJapanese Rule and the Politics of Public Space in Colonial Korea, 1910–1945$
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Todd A. Henry

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520276550

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520276550.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 15 May 2021

. Assimilation and Space

. Assimilation and Space

Toward an Ethnography of Japanese Rule

(p.1) Introduction. Assimilation and Space
Assimilating Seoul

Todd A. Henry

University of California Press

This chapter introduces the book's historiographical, conceptual, and empirical contributions. In terms of historiography, Assimilating Seoul engages with nationalist paradigms of colonial oppression by reassessing the nature of the Government-General, whose authority, I posit, was neither internally coherent nor externally hegemonic. Conceptually, the study frames Japanese assimilation in terms of illiberal governmentality, showing how officials deployed this guiding principle of modern rule in the colonial context, if only in highly experimental and uneven ways. Through an ethnographic analysis of the city's public spaces as “contact zones,” the book also demonstrates how various social actors redeployed the spiritual, material, and civic pretensions of assimilation in terms that promoted their own interests, only some of which aligned with those of the Government-General.

Keywords:   Korean nationalism, colonial governmentality, Japanese assimilation, public space, contact zone, historical ethnography

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