Korean "New Women" in Europe

Korean "New Women" in Europe: Pioneers of the Early 20th Century

Prof. Dr. LEE Hyojin (Heidelberg University)

Monday, 28th May 2018, 18:00–19:00

Rämistrasse 71, 8006 Zurich (UZH Main Building)

Korean women were able to receive modernized education through missionary schools and private women’s schools from the late 19th century onward. Some women decided, however, to study abroad in order to achieve modern knowledge and culture and to promote the interests of their nation.

The word Shin Nyeseong has its origins in the English “New Woman.” This phrase and the idea of liberalization for women came through Japan and became widespread in Korea during the 1920s, partly through their promotion by magazines such as the “New Women” (Shin Nyeoseong).  Women now began to examine “old women” or the “old society” and to compare them with the new movement, marking, in effect, the birth of the women‘s rights movement in Korea.

These so-called New Women pursued not only professional jobs, but they also actively participated in the women's reform movement by freely associating with men, by freely marrying and divorcing, by being sexually liberated, and other phenomena related to rapid social change.

This talk will focus on the activities of these Korean New Women in Europe during the 1920s. I will introduce remarkable figures of Korean New Women such as Na Hye seok, Kim Il Yeob and Kim Myeong sun and also include a hitherto unknown figure, namely Choi Yeong-suk, who was the first Asian woman exchange student in Sweden and highlight her life and activities in Europe.

This lecture will be held in English and is open to the public. 
For questions, please contact the Section for East Asian Art History (kgoa@khist.uzh.ch).

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