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∙ Current position: Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki
∙ Ph.D. dissertation Neighborhood Shopkeepers in Contemporary South Korea: Household, Work, and Locality available online (E-Thesis publications a the University of Helsinki). For printed copies, please contact me by e-mail.
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Friday, February 27, 2004

What "hunjang"

Why am I keeping a blog, and why is it called Hunjangûi karûch'im? As a Ph.D. candidate, working on a thesis about Korea, removed from Korea in Helsinki, I have been making net notes on Korea since last spring, to keep up with the developments since my last visit in summer 2002 and make notes of what interests me. Beginning this year I finally decided to change to a blog format.

As my anthropology thesis is about keepers of small neighborhood shops, and that kind of an environment is where I've spent the longest periods of time in Korea (see the header pics above, except on the right), my blog entries are mostly about small businesses, "ordinary people", social categories, urban space, and the like. It is indeed fortunate that info on South Korea is so well accessible in the net; someone in a reversed position in Seoul would have it much more difficult. Most of my entries are in English, but I will allow myself occasional ones in Finnish and Korean, too, depending on the subject and my mood. I'm following mostly Korean-language media and sources, so most of the links are to Korean-language documents, and I also often leave long quotations untranslated in my posts, just to save time.

Hunjang is a village teacher or schoolmaster in the old Korea, teaching Chinese characters and Confucian classics in a sôdang, village school. The name of the blog, hunjangûi karûch'im means "village schoolmaster's teachings." That should give an impression ironic enough. These are supposed to be notes and commentaries on things of interest to me and in the best case to some visitors as well. Chal put'akhamnida.

(Now that I think, tongnehunjang would have suited better for my time in Korea and sounded funnier...)

Here's a picture of a hunjang (third from right in back row) with his students in Kangwon-do in the late 1950s, taken from professor Lee Mun-woong's Visual Anthropology Archive; there are lots of interesting photographs from 1950s and 1960s.

Categories at del.icio.us/hunjang: