Nam Center Colloquium Series | Revolutionary Landscapes: Ecology, Power, and Anarchism in Modern Korea

Albert Park, Associate Professor, Claremont McKenna College

Albert Park, Associate Professor, Claremont McKenna College Albert Park, Associate Professor, Claremont McKenna College
Where should we locate the origins of modern Korea’s environmental problems? Many assume that environmental issues emerged in 1960s South Korea when heavy industrialization in urban areas visibly started to pollute air and water. This presentation, however, traces the origins of environmental issues in agricultural modernization. Vigorous modernization efforts in agricultural food production from the late nineteenth century to the present left an ecological footprint on the Korean peninsula, as governments on the Korean peninsula and diverse figures and groups from the United States and Japan introduced non-native species and new systems of knowledge and practice. Responding to these top-down modernization drives, Korean communities and associations organized environmental campaigns to build new “ecological systems of life” that would restore local autonomy and governance based on the principles of anarchism. This presentation argues that we need to spatially re-conceptualize “environmental problems” to shift a focus from industrialization and cities to agriculture and the agrarian area in writing a critical environmental history.

Albert L. Park is the Bank of America Associate Professor of Pacific Basin Studies at Claremont McKenna College. As a historian of modern Korea and East Asia, his current research project focuses on the roots of environmentalism in modern Korean history and its relationship to locality and local autonomy. This book project is tentatively titled Imagining Nature and the Creation of Environmental Movements in Modern Korea. He is the author of Building a Heaven on Earth: Religion, Activism and Protest in Japanese Occupied Korea and is the co-editor of Encountering Modernity: Christianity and East Asia. Dr. Park is the Co-Principal Investigator of EnviroLab Asia—a Henry Luce Foundation-funded initiative at the Claremont Colleges ($1.4 million award) that carries out research on environmental issues in Asia through a cross disciplinary lens. He is the recipient of four Fulbright Fellowships for Research, an Abe Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and fellowships from the Korea Foundation and the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago. A native of Chicago, he received his B.A. with honors from Northwestern University, an M.A. from Columbia University and Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago.
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When and Where

Map Weiser Hall - Room 120

September 2018

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4:30pm - 6:00pm

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