"Our Lives, Our Space: View of Women in a Red-Light District, Korea" | Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
University of Pittsburgh

"Our Lives, Our Space: View of Women in a Red-Light District, Korea"

March 18, 2010 - 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Sealing Cheng (Henry Luce Chair, Dept. of Women's and Gender Studies, Wellesley College)

School of Arts and Sciences, Asian Studies Center, Women’s Studies Program, and the departments of Anthropology, Studio Arts, and History of Art and Architecture

Opening lecture and tour of exhibit

This photographic exhibition includes 40 photographs taken by women in the Yongsan red-light district of Seoul, South Korea, who have worked and lived in the area for as long as 40 years. The red-light district, located near Yongsan Railway Station in central Seoul, is one of the oldest red-light districts in South Korea.  As part of the urban renewal project, the area was scheduled for demolition by the end of 2009 – now postponed to 2011. These photographs show us how personal histories are written onto the space and architecture of the red-light district, and how it is Home to these women who have lived on the margins of Korean society.

Women in prostitution have largely been an invisible part of history and society in South Korea, reduced to mere statistics and stereotypes. Their voices are never heard in the decision-making process of national and local policies that have a direct impact on their lives - such as the 2004 Act for the Prevention of Prostitution and related Acts, and the demolition of red-light districts. This photography project, in conjunction with an oral history project, is a way for these women to write their own history.

This photographic project was co-organized by Wellesley College, USA, and Courageous Women Research Center, Republic of Korea.

Event flyer

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