CKR ONLINE Book Talk
Kinship Novels of Early Modern Korea: Between Genealogical Time and the Domestic Everyday
Ksenia Chizhova, Princeton University
Moderated by Jungwon Kim, Columbia University
Friday, May 14, 2021
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Co-sponsored by Academy of Korean Studies; Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University
Violence and bloody family feuds constitute the core of the so-called lineage novels (kamun sosŏl) that circulated in Chosŏn Korea from the late seventeenth to the early twentieth century. Such subject matter becomes ever more puzzling when we consider that the main audience for these texts were elite women of Korea, who were subjected to exacting comportment standards and domestic discipline. Coeval with the rise and fall of Korean patrilineal kinship, these texts depict the genealogical subject—emotional self socialized through the structures of prescriptive kinship, but kinship itself is treated as a series of conflicts between genders and generations.
This talk will contextualize lineage novels and the domestic world in which they were read within the patrilineal transformation of the Chosŏn society and the emergence of elite vernacular Korean culture, patronaged by elite women. The proliferation of kinship narratives in the Chosŏn period illuminates the changing affective contours of familial bonds and how the domestic space functioned as a site of their everyday experience. Drawing on an archive of women-centered elite vernacular texts, this talk uncovers the structures of feelings and conceptions of selfhood beneath official genealogies and legal statutes, revealing that kinship is as much a textual as a social practice.
Bio: Ksenia Chizhova is an Assistant Professor of Korean Literature and Cultural Studies at Princeton University. Her main research interests include history of emotions, family, and writing in Korea, between the late seventeenth and twentieth centuries. Her most recent research project grows out of her continued fascination with vernacular Korean calligraphy and traces the shifts in contexts and infrastructure of graphic media that shaped the visual aesthetics of the Korean script, from the 17th century calligraphic practice to the contemporary fonts and graphic design in the two Koreas.