University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science > Imitation as innovation: recasting the history of technology in modern Korea

Imitation as innovation: recasting the history of technology in modern Korea

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Innovation is overrated. In recent years, historians of technology have challenged the historical narrative focusing on innovation and novelty, and turned toward ‘technology-in-use’ and ‘maintenance’. Yet, those working on the so-called peripheral regions continue to search for the elusive technological innovations – just as the gold rushers sieved through mud and sand hoping to find precious metal – identifying trace-amounts of innovative technical practices. This project begins from the premise that no innovation occurred in modern Korea. All technologies were importations from or imitations of advanced industrial countries (mostly the United States and Japan). Taking this perspective allows us to see beyond the successful outlier cases and capture the diverse practices that shaped the meaning and purpose of technologies in the postcolonial nation. In the talk, I will discuss several case studies to illustrate this point.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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