Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Old Gods, New TImes: A Shaman Ritual in South Korea

In the 1970s, as a young anthropologist and novice fieldworker, I spent nearly two years in the company of South Korean shamans, called mudang or mansin, observing their rituals and divination sessions and accompanying them to kut, their most elaborate ritual. In kut, the shaman puts on the costumes of the gods, dances to rapid drum beats, and when the music stops, speaks and mimes in the god’s persona, sometimes angry and demanding, sometimes comic, usually offering promises of good fortune b...

Feature Article

Marriages and Families in East Asia: Something Old, Something New

In 1984, I began a research project that, in the fullness of time, would become a book. Getting Married in Korea is an exploration of courtship, matchmaking, weddings, and related practices and how they had all changed over the course of the twentieth century.1 In the beginning, I spent a great deal of time in the four commercial wedding halls of a Korean town where brides marched down the aisle in white lace dresses and veils to a pianist’s rendering of “The Wedding March.” At the end of ...