Postcolonial feminist scholarship on the formation of gender relations primarily uses the analytic of colonizer-colonized dyad. In her new monograph, Gender Politics at Home and Abroad: Protestant Modernity in Colonial-Era Korea (Cambridge UP, 2020), Professor Hyaeweol Choi makes an important intervention by examining colonial Korea to propose a new framework that accounts for transnational encounters between national reformists, missionaries, and colonial authorities. Drawing from both major and minor archives in various geographic sites such as Korea, Japan, the US, Sweden, and Denmark, Choi locates the voices of the educated Korean women whose reform rhetoric and activities reflect transnational encounters. Postcolonial studies have shown us how archives are a contentious, political site with prominent feminist scholar Antoinette Burton pointing out the need to understand the interdependence between discursive visibility of minoritized people and their experiences. Through her research, Choi is able to show how educated women, despite their status as an elite minority, points to the larger structure of patriarchy and how it is constantly contested and reshaped by forces such as the state, ideologies of western domesticity, and religion.
Gender Politics at Home and Abroad is an important read for scholars and public who are interested in postcolonial feminism, domesticity, transnational history, and colonial modernity.
Hyaeweol Choi is a Professor who holds joint appointments with Religious Studies and Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa. She is also a C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family and Korea Foundation Chair in Korean Studies. Her publications include Gender and Mission Encounters in Korea: New Women, Old Ways (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009), New Women in Colonial Korea: A Sourcebook (London: Routledge, 2013), and Gender Politics at Home and Abroad: Protestant Modernity in Colonial-era Korea (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020).
Da In Ann Choi is a PhD student at UCLA in the Gender Studies department. Her research interests include care labor and migration, reproductive justice, social movement, citizenship theory, and critical empire studies. She can be reached at [email protected]
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