This article examines literature from Korea and Singapore during the decades of rapid industrial and urban expansion following World War II. Using the concept of the “New Asian City,” the author argues that the growth of the cities behind these apparent “miracle economies” needs to be understood in terms of postcoloniality, that is, a complex relation between the colonial histories of Japan and England, domestic authoritarianism, and the productive imperatives of global capitalism. Reading novellas by Cho Se-hŭi and Goh Poh Seng, the essay shows how such texts foreground both the general postcolonial shift to industrial modernity and the specific processes of urban renewal that have characterized the developing Pacific Rim. Literary representations of such shifts—especially those surrounding state-sponsored urban renewal programs—enable us to track the contradictory experiences behind such expansion as well as connect and contrast metropolitan and postcolonial modernities.
Research Article|February 01 2011
Jini Kim Watson; Seoul and Singapore as “New Asian Cities”: Literature, Urban Transformation, and the Concentricity of Power. positions 1 February 2011; 19 (1): 193–215. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-2010-029
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