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Valérie Gelézeau lecture: “Landscapes of Power: Mass Housing at the Urban Core in South Korea”

08 Dec 2015 @ 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

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Largely unknown to city-dwellers before the 1960s, large apartment complexes (ap’at’ŭ tanji) powerfully shape the landscapes of contemporary South Korean cities. Some are now being memorialized by artists, planners and citizen themselves. How did apparently western-style housing blocks migrate to Korea on such a large scale? To what extent do they reflect the power relations between the global and the local in South Korean cities? What is currently at stake regarding the future of apartments in the contemporary post-industrial Korean society? Combining the perspectives of cultural geography and Korean studies, and using ethnographic materials gathered on sites studied since the mid-1990s (in downtown Seoul) or new ones in the making (Songdo), the symposium will address those issues regarding the significance of South Korea as a “Republic of Apartments” (ap’at’ŭ konghwaguk), where apartment complexes have been the main mediation of the Korean society to urban modernity.

Valérie Gelézeau addresses in her research the various dimensions of space as a social construct in contemporary Korea, via different perspectives including urban geography, cultural geography, regional geography and geopolitics. She is the author of Ap’at’ŭ konghwaguk (“The Republic of Apartments” 2007), Atlas de Séoul (2011, a geographical monograph of Seoul as a megacity) and, with Koen De Ceuster and Alain Delissen, the co-editor of De-bordering Korea. Tangible and intangible legacies of the Sunshine Policy (Routledge 2013).

Event Speakers:

Jennifer Chun (Chair)
Director, Centre for the Study of Korea & Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Scarborough

Sungjo Kim (Discussant)
Historian, Course Instructor in Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, York University

Valérie Gelézeau (Speaker)
Associate professor at l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS, Paris), Affiliated fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (Leiden, The Netherlands)

Main Sponsor:
Centre for the Study of Korea

Dr. David Chu Community Network in Asia Pacific Studies
Asian Institute


08 Dec 2015
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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University of Toronto – Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School
1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, ON Canada
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