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Re-authenticating Race: Rha Saejin and the Recycling of Colonial Physical Anthropology in Post-Colonial Korea

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What are the roles of colonial physical anthropology in post-colonial societies? Does it simply disappear from the public scene, losing its academic and political utility? Or does it have a renewed life, serving another master in the name of science? The analysis of the post-colonial intellectual trajectories of Rha Saejin, South Korea’s foremost anatomist and physical anthropologist, points to an unsavory continuity. In this talk, Hoi-eun Kim analyzes the ways in which Rha, who had received his professional training during the colonial era, retooled and recycled colonial racial essentialization in support of the post-colonial discourse of ethnic uniformity of the Koreans. Recognizing this continuity of physical anthropology through the colonial and post-colonial periods is to discover the long-term legacy of knowledge that originated from German physician-anthropologists in Meiji Japan, was mediated and relayed by Japanese progenies in Imperial Japan, and found its unexpected utility in post-colonial Korea.



Thursday, October 27, 2016. 04:30 PM


Lathrop Library, Room 224, 518 Memorial Way


History Department, Center for East Asian Studies




Free and open to the public. RSVP form