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A historiography of cultural heritage interpretation and policy in Kaesŏng, DPR Korea and their possible impact on inter-Korean rapprochement

Scheidhauer, R.; (2011) A historiography of cultural heritage interpretation and policy in Kaesŏng, DPR Korea and their possible impact on inter-Korean rapprochement. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Korea’s dividing ideologies of the past century, and the dominant efforts to legitimise the respective political agendas of the two States, have had an impact on the interpretation of, and the choice of focus within, cultural heritage and history. Cultural heritage policies are part of this particular historical narrative, reflected in heritage interpretations and activities. Whereas the socio-political studies of unification focus on a territorial unification, an approach coming from cultural heritage has the potential advantage of being able to focus on congruence through common roots, views of history and cultural values. Through an analysis of historical events and cultural heritage in the North Korean border town Kaesŏng, the research highlights the contribution of cultural heritage to past, present and future national perceptions. It also explores the impact that current socio-political developments have in turn on cultural heritage interpretations. Cultural heritage has not been, and will not to be, the major player in rapprochement politics practiced in South or North Korea. However, as a medium for collective memory and reflection, it can be a useful tool of rapprochement. Although heavily regulated by political agendas, recent joint Korean excavations in Kaesŏng, and one-day tourism tours for South Koreans to the site, provided an unique chance to observe the beginning of historical reflection on contested, compromised and shared cultural interpretations. For a time, the convergence of diverse and shared interpretations provided for the first steps towards mutual recognition and acknowledgement: that activities need to be continued.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:A historiography of cultural heritage interpretation and policy in Kaesŏng, DPR Korea and their possible impact on inter-Korean rapprochement
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Additional information:Third party copyright material has been removed from the e-thesis.
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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