Readings and Peer Reviewing

Readings for this week:

Choi, Hyaeweol. “‘Wise Mother, Good Wife’: A Transcultural Discursive Construct in Modern Korea.” Journal of Korean Studies 14, no. 1 (2009): 1–33. doi:10.1353/jks.2009.0004.

In this article, Choi argues that Protestant American women missionaries “woman’s work for woman” and their introduction of education for Korean women and ideas of Victorian domesticity, as well as their ideas of the nuclear family and “co-serving” with their husbands helped to create the “Wise Mother, Good Wife” ideal of the modern Korean woman. The idea of “Wise Mother, Good Wife” in the Korean context is a mixture of ideas taken from the “Wise Mother, Good Wife” ideas from Japan and the American missionaries Western ideas of domesticity.

Choi, Hyaeweol. “Women’s Literacy and New Womanhood in Late Choson Korea.” Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 6, no. 1 (March 30, 2000): 88.

Due to Confucian ideas of woman’s place, many Korean women were uneducated. In this article, Choi argues that American missionaries, especially women missionaries and Korean intellectuals were the two groups that contributed most significantly to the spread of literacy among Korean women.

Choi, Hyaeweol. “The Visual Embodiment of Women in the Korea Mission Field.” Korean Studies 34, no. 1 (2010): 90–126.

American women missionaries used photography as a means to communicate with their supporters at home. Today, through analysis of this photography, historians may use it as a way to give a voice to the women of Korea, who were often illiterate.

Choi, Hyaeweol. “Christian Modernity in Missionary Discourse from Korea, 1905-1910.” East Asian History 29(2005):39-69.

In this article, Choi illuminates ways in which the Christian discourse of American missionaries championed Christian morality as the driving force for modernity. This study especially looks at the politically volatile time between the Japanese protectorate and annexation of Korea. In this discourse, Christian morality is championed as a superior modernizing force over the Japanese modernization, because Japan is a ‘heathen’ country and is shown to be essential for civilizing an emerging, but still backward, Korea.

Hyaeweol Choi. “An American Concubine in Old Korea: Missionary Discourse on Gender, Race and Modernity.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies 25, no. 3 (2004): 134–61.

In this article, Choi argues that American woman missionary Ellasue Wagner considers Christian morality and ethics to be more important in determining “superiority” or “modernity” than race. Through an analysis of a missionary fiction written by an American woman missionary, in this article, Hyaeweol Choi challenges the idea of “superior in race, inferior in gender” that is often applied to women missionaries. According to Choi’s analysis, the novel criticizes the white race and instead privileges Christian piety over race.

Reflections on Peer Reviewing;

I felt that I learned a lot from peer reviewing, especially in the nuances of doing a historiography, as well as, opening my eyes to intriguing new ideas and being brave with putting them down on a piece of paper. I also discovered, or better word would be, confirmed how difficult it is to critique another person’s work. Critiquing, even in a constructive capacity is difficult for me, but something I really want to improve on and something I feel is necessary to improve on.


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