Sung Un Gang
The Opposite of Home. Modernization of Theatre and Allocation of Women in Colonial Korea (1902-1937)
In my dissertation, I explore transformations of theatre and women's roles in Korea under Japanese rule between 1902 and 1937. This period is bookended by the opening of the first state-funded playhouse Soch'undae and the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The appearance of Korean women as audiences, actresses, and after all, as the bearers of the modernity marked the groundbreaking change in Korean women's history. I argue that the discourse and practice of theatre modernization played a significant part in the questioning, refashioning, and invention of Korean women's roles constructed at the intersection of gender, class, and ethnicity. Adopting the method of discourse analysis, I investigate the process of negotiation among various interest groups – such as Government General, Korean nationalists, aspiring Korean middle class women, and the subaltern kisaeng women – around the normative Korean women's roles and spaces.