CKS Fall 2012 Events

CKS Fall 2012 Events

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CKS Fall 2012 Event List

November 30, 2012

Friday, November 30 (4:00 p.m.)
On Being Normal: Madness and the Politics of Care in Colonial Korea
Jun Yoo (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
Location: IEAS Conference Room

Summary: This talk examines the social pathology of mental illness under Japanese colonial rule and how madness became an object of medical discourse and a privileged site for constructing normality. In contrast to the earlier periods, colonial authorities resorted to modern forms of surveillance (what Michel Foucault terms “bio-power”) as it took a great interest in the regulation of public health. In part, this was achieved by the utilization of “specialists” (from economists to psychiatrists, demographers to medical doctors) to conduct studies about the life processes of the Korean people. For the first time, surveys and studies of Korean mental health, crime, genetic illnesses, and other topics proliferated in both the private and state sectors. In particular, it will analyze the emergence of three discursive sites (e.g., medicine, psychiatry, and criminology)—and their corresponding institutions (e.g., hospital, asylum, and prison) and how these new apparatuses of power sought to manage the subject population through means of normalization and social control. It will probe the emerging field of psychiatry and how it deployed gender categories to frame and quantify new social pathologies like the hysteric (a female malady), recidivist, imbecile, and the likes. One of the central aims is to analyze the moral connotations attached to these new diagnostic labels and the processes by which standards of normativity were framed in the Korean context. Likewise, it seeks to understand the changing socio-economic conditions that contributed to the rise of these statistics.