Archaeology of the Shadow: Splendors and Deeds of Kongju, the Abandoned Capital
*Elisabeth Chabanol (École française d’Extrême-Orient)
Shadows in the Showcase: Kyŏngsŏng and the Fabric of Coloniality
*Alain Delissen (EHESS)
Emergence of a Shadow: Songdo, a Globalized Mega-Project in the Shade of Seoul
*Valérie Gelézeau (EHESS)
Revival of a Shadow: The Korean Ethnic Elites of Almaty (Kazakhstan) and the Building of the Korean House in a Diasporic Capital
*Eunsil Yim (Universite Paris Diderot – Paris 7)
Chair: Timothy Tangherlini (University of California, Los Angeles)
Discussant: Timothy Tangherlini (University of California, Los Angeles)
Based on a transdisciplinary and comparative approach of the social sciences, this panel seeks to go beyond classical analysis of capital cities in the Korean World (the two Koreas and the diaspora) that usually focus on the capitals situated at the center of the State or national territory, such as “hyper-capital cities” (Seoul and Pyongyang) that cumulate core functions (historical, political, economical) in the nation and are part of a larger international order; and former capital cities that legitimate the present States’ meta-narratives (Kyŏngju and Kaesŏng).
Whereas previous research on Korean cities has largely focused on topics of the relationship between political power and capital cities, major planning and building projects involving capital cities, hyper-capital cities and social elites, and heritage and conservation in historical capital cities, this panel intends to add to that conversation by examining so-called “shadow capital cities”. Defined as subaltern or marginal capitals, they are numerous in Korea: historical capital cities of States that were marginalized in the unification discourse (Kongju or Puyŏ), once forgotten capital cities (such as Suwŏn), fantasized capital cities (of the future reunified Korea), near-capital cities in the making (Sejong-si), appendix-capital cities in the making (Songdo), diasporic capital cities (Los Angeles or Almaty), and others.
How does one explain the plurality of these shadow capital cities in the Korean World? Could those cities be envisioned as coherent socio-spatial objects, and what peculiarities do they share (or not) in terms of status, forms, functions and social fabric?
The panel will focus on four case studies and four disciplines (archaeology, history, geography and anthropology).