Consuming Korean Tradition  in Early and Late Modernity: Commodification, Tourism,  and Performance
272pp. September 2010
Consuming Korean Tradition in Early and Late Modernity: Commodification, Tourism, and Performance
Editor: Kendall, Laurel;
Contributors to this volume explore the irony of modern things made in the image of a traditional "us." They describe the multifaceted ways "tradition" is produced and consumed within the frame of contemporary Korean life and how these processes are enabled by different apparatuses of modernity that Koreans first encountered in the early twentieth century. Commoditized goods and services first appeared in the colonial period in such spectacular and spectacularly foreign forms as department stores, restaurants, exhibitions, and staged performances. Today, these same forms have become the media through which many Koreans consume "tradition" in multiple forms.

In the colonial period, commercial representations of Korea—tourist sites, postcard images, souvenir miniatures, and staged performances—were produced primarily for foreign consumption, often by non-Koreans. In late modernity, efficiencies of production, communication, and transportation combine with material wealth and new patterns of leisure activity and tourism to enable the localized consumption of Korean tradition in theme parks, at sites of alternative tourism, at cultural festivals and performances, as handicrafts, art, and cuisine, and in coffee table books, broadcast music, and works of popular folklore. Consuming Korean Tradition offers a unique insight into how and why different signifiers of "Korea" have come to be valued as tradition in the present tense, the distinctive histories and contemporary anxieties that undergird this process, and how Koreans today experience their sense of a common Korean past. It offers new insights into issues of national identity, heritage preservation, tourism, performance, the commodification of contemporary life, and the nature of "tradition" and "modernity" more generally.

Consuming Korean Tradition will prove invaluable to Koreanists and those interested in various aspects of contemporary Korean society, including anthropology, film/cultural studies, and contemporary history.

17 illus.

Contributors: Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, Kyung-Koo Han, Keith Howard, Hyung Il Pai, Laurel Kendall, Okpyo Moon, Robert Oppenheim, Timothy R. Tangherlini, Judy Van Zile.

“For its meticulous and lucid ethnographic presentation as well as abundant information and insightful interpretation, this fascinating volume should be on the must-read list not only for professionals in the fields of cultural studies, anthropology, history, folklore, performance arts, sociology, and cultural industry but also for general readers interested in Korean tradition practiced and regenerated in the contemporary postmodern market of culture." —American Anthropologist (115:3, September 2013)

“Incredibly thought-provoking and inspiring. [The book] addresses both ‘early modernity’ and ‘late modernity,’ giving the reader ample demonstrations of cultural change while simultaneously showing that a core understanding of the importance of tradition, if not the meaning of tradition, endures.” —New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies (13:2, December 2011)

“Provides a fascinating, and useful, introduction to the emergence of a modern Korean cultural identity.” —Pacific Affairs (84:3, September 2011)
Editor: Kendall, Laurel;
Laurel Kendall is Curator in Charge of Asian Ethnographic Collections and Chair of the Division of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History and teaches at Columbia University.
Read the introduction (PDF).
Preface and Acknowledgments

Laurel Kendall
Introduction: Material Modernity, Consumable Tradition

Part I. Modernity as Spectacle/Spectacular Korea
1. Katarzyna J. Cwiertka
Dining Out in the Land of Desire: Colonial Seoul and the Korean Culture of Consumption
2. Timothy R. Tangherlini
Shrinking Culture: Lotte World and the Logic of Miniaturization

Part II. Korea as Itinerary
3. Hyung Il Pai
Travel Guides to the Empire: The Production of Tourist Images in Colonial Korea
4. Okpyo Moon
Guests of Lineage Houses: Tourist Commoditization of Confucian Cultural Heritage in Korea
5. Robert Oppenheim
Crafting the Consumability of Place: Tapsaand PaenangYohaengas Travel Goods

Part III. Korean Things
6. Laurel Kendall
The ChangsungDefanged: The Curious Recent History of a Korean Cultural Symbol
7. Kyung-Koo Han
The "Kimchi Wars" in Globalizing East Asia: Consuming Class, Gender, Health, and National Identity

Part IV. Korea Performed
8. Judy Van Zile
Blurring Tradition and Modernity: The Impact of Japanese Colonization and Ch’oe Sung-hui on Dance in South Korea Today
9. Keith Howard
Kugak Fusion and the Politics of Korean Musical Consumption