Women in Korean Musical Theatre

Ji Gu

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis presents a feminist critique of relationships between musical theatre in Korea, Korean women and phallocentric culture. Musical theatre has always reflected conceptions of femininity and is mired in gender discourse. Whenever Korean Confucian patriarchal masculinity was threatened by internal and external socio-political changes, Korean musical theatre responded with newer forms and modes of representing gender. Newly-fashioned musical theatre flourished and attracted female audiences, particularly at times of transition. Whereas some writers have seen musical theatre as liberating, this thesis argues that it has, on the contrary, encouraged women to succumb to conventional Confucian views of woman’s place in society.
The thesis investigates how musical theatre, as a form of gendered performance, has upheld the Confucian ideal of womanhood from the time of the Chosŏn dynasty to the present. It follows the trajectory of Korean musical theatre history from its beginnings in traditional musical theatrical performance of shamanic kut through two modern musical theatrical performances (yŏsŏng kukkŭk and akkŭk) to the contemporary, the so-called steady-seller musical theatre, showing how, at each stage in its history, Korean musical theatre recuperates and maintains the gender order of traditional Confucian patriarchy.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Morcom, Anna, Supervisor
  • Cohen, Matthew, Supervisor
Award date1 Jun 2017
Publication statusUnpublished - 2017

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