Toronto events with Dr. Valérie Gelézeau (EHESS)

Landscapes of Power: Mass Housing at the Urban Core in South Korea
Tuesday, December 8 at 3pm

Professor Valérie Gelézeau

Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Studies on China, Korea, and Japan at the École des haute Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris)

아파트 공화국Largely unknown to city-dwellers before the 1960s, large apartment complexes (ap’at’ŭ tanji 아파트 단지) 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 아파트 공화국), where apartment complexes have been the main mediation of the Korean society to urban modernity.

Dr. Sungjo Kim, recent PhD from the Department of East Asian Studies, will give discussant comments, and there will be a catered reception afterwards. Details and registration information:

Visual Methods Workshop
Wednesday, December 9 at 3-5pm

A closed workshop (registration required) with Professor Gelézeau as well as Professors Tong Lam, Deborah Cowen and Ju Hui Judy Han on the topic of “Visual Methods.” This will be a rare opportunity to learn about each speaker’s use of innovative visual methods – including photography, maps, film, video, graphic design – to study urban dynamism and change in South and North Korea as well as China. See the attached description for more detailed info. Space is limited and registration will be on a first come, first serve basis. For this private seminar please register at this specific link:

How do social science researchers studying urban dynamism and change use ­photography, maps, film, video, graphic design, and other forms of visual data in their methodological practice? How do visual representations of objects, places, and landscapes foster different ways of seeing and knowing? What kinds of ethical and political dilemmas are generated by the use of visual forms? This workshop invites three distinguished speakers to share their innovative approaches to visual methodology, which move beyond a narrow emphasis on documentary representation and explore the complex issues involved in producing visual interpretations of social, political, and cultural life. In addition to sharing their insights about specific projects utilizing visual methods, they will discuss the importance of collaboration and reciprocity in the field of visual methodology as well as complex entanglements around power, inequality, and social justice in the production and dissemination of visual representation and forms.

Valérie Gelézeau, the 2015 annual symposium’s distinguished guest speaker from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris) within the Centre for Korean Studies, will share insights from her use of visual methods in projects such as Ap’at’ŭ konghwaguk 아파트 공화국 (“The Republic of Apartments,” Seoul: Humanitas, 2007), Atlas de Séoul (a geographical monograph of Seoul as a megacity, 2011), and Korea, Koreas: A Situated Geography of the Division (2012).

Tong Lam, a historian and visual artist from the University of Toronto Mississauga, will discuss his use of photographic and cinematographic techniques to document China’s phenomenal growth, including images of the precarity of everyday life in a rapidly urbanizing village, the co-existence of affluence and dispossession, and the debris of history in industrial and post-industrial societies.

Deborah Cowen, an urban geographer in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto.

Ju Hui Judy Han, a cultural geographer of religion, mobility, and difference from the Department of Human Geography at the University of Toronto Scarborough, will discuss the use of ethnographic nonfiction and digital storytelling to deepen our understanding of affective geographies and temporalities.

Chair: Jennifer Jihye Chun, Director, Centre for the Study of Korea