The Korea Institute recently announced three postdoctoral fellows for Harvard’s 2008-09 Post-Doctoral Fellowship program in Korean Studies. Todd A. Henry and Se-Mi Oh were named as this year’s postdoctoral fellows for the Korea Foundation, and Jun Uchida was selected as the postdoctoral fellow for the Korea Institute-Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies.
Todd A. Henry, a specialist in modern Korean and Japanese history, received a Ph.D. in history from UCLA in 2006. His degree followed two years of dissertation research at Seoul National University (Department of Korean History) and Kyoto University (Institute for Research in Humanities) as a Korea Foundation and Fulbright Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IIE) fellow, respectively. Before coming to Harvard, Henry served as assistant professor of modern East Asian history at Colorado State University. Among other publications, he is the author of the articles “Sanitizing Empire: Japanese Articulations of Korean Otherness and the Construction of Early Colonial Seoul, 1905-19” and “Re-Spatializing Choson’s Royal Capital: The Politics of Japanese Urban Reforms in Early Colonial Seoul, 1905-19” which appears in “Sitings: Critical Approaches to Korean Geography” [University of Hawai’i Press, 2008], co-edited by Timothy Tangherlini and Sallie Yea. Henry’s current book project, “Ethnographies of Power: Seoul’s Urban Spaces under Japanese Colonialism, 1910-45,” explores the intersection between colonial power and city space through an examination of urban sites that were bound up in the contested project of “assimilating” colonized Koreans. At the Korea Institute, Henry will be revising his dissertation and researching a final book chapter that deals with the politics of imperialization in wartime Korea (1937-45).
Se-Mi Oh, who specializes in modern Korean history, received a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2008. Her dissertation, “Consuming the Modern: The Everyday in Colonial Seoul, 1915-1937,” explores colonial modernity of Korea through the lens of visual, material, and consumer cultures in colonial Seoul. Through the examination of colonial Seoul’s rapid urbanization and commercialization during the period overlapping with the cultural rule, she examines the ways in which competing visions of empire and nation were articulated through the medium of consumption in Japanese colonial discourse, Korean nationalist discourse, and the politics of the everyday. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Korea Institute, Oh will work on a book manuscript and a project that looks into funeral rites and gravesites in colonial Seoul.
Jun Uchida completed a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 2005, and after conducting a year of additional research as a junior fellow of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, she became an assistant professor in the History Department at Stanford University in 2006. Uchida is currently preparing a book manuscript titled “Brokers of Empire: Japanese Settler Colonialism in Korea, 1876-1945.” In it she tells the story of Japanese settlers in colonial Korea, one of the largest colonial communities in the 20th century whose history nonetheless remains largely unknown. The book illustrates the informal conduits of power that drove colonialism on the ground and explores the complex dynamics of cross-cultural encounter between the Japanese and Koreans beyond the dichotomy of oppression and resistance. Uchida is also looking at the history of decolonization — not only the dismantling of colonial authority on the Korean peninsula — but also the more drawn-out process of repatriation and settlement as well as the politics of memory in postwar Japan.