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Title: A representation of nationhood: The National Museum of Korea
Authors: Jang, Sang Hoon
Supervisors: Knell, Simon
Award date: 1-Mar-2015
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This thesis explores how the National Museum of Korea (NMK), national repository of material culture and the state’s premier exhibition facility, has shaped and been shaped by Korean nationalism, and how South Korea’s post-colonial state in East Asia has secured its national identity through the national museum. This thesis is divided into 6 chapters. Chapter 1 examines the colonial and political background of the formation of major government-run museum institutions. Chapter 2 looks at the establishment of NMK in the contemporary political and international political setting of the construction of the South Korean state after liberation. Chapter 3 then focuses on an international political aspect of NMK’s overseas exhibition in the US under the Cold War system, arguing that this exhibition contributed to promoting notions of Korean national identity both within and beyond South Korea. Chapter 4 explores Park Chung Hee and his government’s strong nationalist drive to utilise the national museum as a medium of national unity and mobilisation. Chapter 5 again turns to the overseas exibition project led by NMK from 1976 to 1981 and shows that a more systematised nationalist narrative of material culture by NMK’s curators and South Korean intellectuals was constructed domestically and displayed internationally. Chapter 6 focuses on South Koreans’ internalisation of the nationalist narrative during the 1980s and 1990s, discussing NMK’s activities directed toward audiences and a series of reopening projects it undertook and their impacts on South Korean society. The thesis concludes with the argument that since its inauguration in December 1945, the National Museum of Korea has undertaken activities for executing national tasks, which include constructing the discourse of ethnic national culture in support of modern nation building, national unity and internal mobilisation, and securing international recognition of the cultural sovereignty of the Republic of Korea.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Leicester Theses
Theses, School of Museum Studies

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