Is that too strong a word? Maybe…maybe not.
This past week I experienced moments of what I am terming “panic” as well as moments of, “Okay, I’m making progress.” I listened, over and over, to my favorite Korean Indie rock song which promises that “It’s all right”. I also drank copious amounts of coffee thinking I would just really get ahead by staying up, but, in the end, it just kept me up watching movies a couple of nights, because, hey, it was spring break so I might as well indulge in something besides work.
The “panic” came when I realized that the microfilm I had wasn’t helpful…not much anyway. The “panic” eased after a truly late night in front of the computer where, astonishingly, I found a good number of sources online. A trip to Philadelphia to help with my paper on missionary homes for Topics would be nice, but I’m not sure that will happen. The “Okay I’m making progress” came after reading two more books for my project including the preeminent book in the field. And today, Sunday, my friend gave me an article at church that gives a Korean point of view on the houses built by missionaries. While I haven’t translated it yet, I am very glad to have a source with a Korean perspective.
The first book I read was Hyaeweol Choi’s book Gender and Mission Encounters in Korea: New Women Old Ways. In this monograph, Ms. Choi talks about American missionary women’s role in the formation of “modern” women in Korea. While much has been made of the contributions of American women, Choi argues that enlightenment thinkers inside Korea began writing about modernization of Korean women before American women arrived. She also points to the lack of authority American women had even in their “women’s work for women” experiencing their own gender inferiority in a patriarchal world. Choi also argues “the perception of “modern womanhood” among missionary women was cultivated through their encounters with Korean women, who were presumed to be pre-modern, backward, and oppressed. In essence, American women exhibited a racial superiority and gender inferiority.
The Second book I read was Francesca Bray’s Technology and Gender: Fabrics of Power in Late Imperial China. Although written about women in China, this book is very insightful as to the spatial dynamics in a Confucian home. According to Bray, Confucian houses illuminated “the complex structuring of domestic space that embodied in microcosm the hierarchies of gender, generation and rank inherent to the Chinese social order, tying all its occupants into the macrocosm of the polity.”
In essence, the house, instead of being a private space away from society and the state, was a small model of the important Confucian relationships and philosophy that dictated state as well as cultural and societal practices. Although I could not find a similar book on houses in Korea, Confucian principles drove Korean culture and I believe this book will be very helpful in my study of Korean homes.
I also read an article on space and Christian college campuses in China entitled “American Geometries and the Architecture of Christian Campuses in China” by Jeffrey W. Cody. This article very much looked at architectural ideas, however, it was very illuminating on the syncretic approach many Christian organization took when building campuses in China. It appeared in an edited edition entitled China’s Christian Colleges: Cross-Cultural Connections, 1900-1950 edited by Daniel H. Bays and Ellen Widmer.
I also perused or read a number of primary sources. I am adding the bibliography for those below:
Kʻoria Misyŏn Pʻildŭ. Korea Mission Field. 韓國基督教史硏究會, 1919. (The publisher here is showing up as a Chinese publisher,(which zotero picked up) which Chinese was often used at this time in Korea. I will have to find the vernacular Korean and then translate, which I will do.)
Underwood, Lillias H. (Lillias Horton). Underwood of Korea; Being an Intimate Record of the Life and Work of the Rev. H.G. Underwood, D.D., LL. D., for Thiry One Years a Missionary of the Presbyterian Board in Korea. New York, London [etc.] Fleming H. Revell Co, 1918. http://archive.org/details/underwoodofkorea00unde.
Underwood, Lillias H. (Lillias Horton). With Tommy Tompkins in Korea. New York, Chicago [etc.] F.H. Revell Co, 1905. http://archive.org/details/withtommytompkin00unde.
Underwood, Lillias H. (Lillias Horton). Fifteen Years among the Top-Knots; Or, Life in Korea. Boston, New York [etc.] : American tract society, 1904. http://archive.org/details/fifteenyearsamon00undeiala.
Nisbet, Anabel Major. Day in and Day out in Korea [microform] : Being Some Account of the Mission Work That Has Been Carried on in Korea since 1892 by the Presbyterian Church in the United States. Richmond : Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1919. http://archive.org/details/pts_dayindayoutinkor_3720-0666.
- Ohlinger, H. G. Appenzeller. The Korean Repository. The Trilingual Press, 1896. http://archive.org/details/koreanrepositor00unkngoog.
Baird, Annie Laurie Adams. Inside Views of Mission Life. Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1913. http://archive.org/details/insideviewsofmis00bair.
Annie Laurie Adams ) Baird. Daybreak in Korea: A Tale of Transformation in the Far East. Revell, 1909. http://archive.org/details/daybreakinkorea00bairgoog.
 Hyæweol Choi, Gender and Mission Encounters in Korea: New Women, Old Ways: Seoul-California Series in Korean Studies, Volume 1 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009), 13.
 Francesca Bray, Technology and Gender: Fabrics of Power in Late Imperial China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 4.