The Korean Studies section at the Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies cordially invites you to a guest lecture by:

Codruţa Sîntionean
(Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)

The lecture presents a series of eye-opening examples of postcolonial heritage practices designed by the South Korean government in order to represent national identity. A short background overview of the postcolonial period emphasizes the continuity with the heritage management practices of the Japanese colonial government and the legacy of the Park Chung Hee era (1961-1979) in cultural policies. During the Park rule, ideology prevailed over concerns for authenticity, which led to astonishing practices such as displacement, alteration, demolition, partial or complete reconstruction of centuries-old historic architecture, simply in order to illustrate the historic and ideological narrative disseminated by the government.

Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju, South Korea. Photo: Eimoberg
Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju, South Korea.
Photo: Eimoberg

In order to fully grasp the extent of state intervention in the remaking of national heritage, the audience will take a look at stunning photographs from the 1960s and 1970s, selected from the archives of the Office of Cultural Properties. The long-lasting effects of these practices can be seen in the way Korean identity – “Koreanness” – is embodied in heritage today. What makes a piece of architecture distinctly Korean? How is authenticity defined today in South Korean heritage management and in a larger East Asian context? The lecture provides meaningful answers to these questions by analyzing contemporary preservation and reconstruction practices.     

Codruţa Sîntionean is Assistant Professor at the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She has been in charge of the section of Korean Language and Literature since its creation in 2008. After studying in Japan and South Korea she received her PhD from the Faculty of Letters at Babeş-Bolyai University in 2008. Her academic interests include Korean heritage and Korean history.