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  • Local Color

    Kate McDonald

    Chapter from the book: McDonald, K. 2017. Placing Empire: Travel and the Social Imagination in Imperial Japan.


    The treatment of colonized subjects as “in place” only in colonized territories presaged a much broader shift from a spatial politics of empire based on a geography of civilization to one based on a geography of cultural pluralism. In the late 1920s, colonial boosters began to represent Korea, Taiwan, and Manchukuo as unique cultural and geographic regions. Focusing on the seemingly unrelated histories of national parks, the inter-ethnic harmony movement, and the valorization of native labor, the chapter argues that cultural regionalism and its “ethnographic mode” of territorial incorporation became the spatial foundation for a cultural pluralistic social imaginary. In the face of ongoing demands for self-determination, colonial boosters used "local color” to re-naturalize colonialism for a new generation of imperial citizens by teaching them that part of the practice of imperial citizenship was appreciating the economic, cultural, and geographic diversity that the imperial nation had to offer.

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    McDonald, K. 2017. Local Color. In: McDonald, K, Placing Empire. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.34.e

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    Published on Aug. 1, 2017


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