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Leprosy in Korea: A Global History


This dissertation examines the questions concerning the writing of history of leprosy and of diseases in Korea. In this dissertation, I argue that despite the wealth of literature available on the history of leprosy around the world, there has yet been an examination of the very act of writing history of disease such as leprosy. I present the Korean history of leprosy as case study for exploring the limitations, problems and strengths in writing history of disease. Korea is a good place to examine these questions as Korea was not colonized by a Western power and does not have tropical climate. Western imperialism and tropical disease have been two concepts most frequently used to explain the history of leprosy. As Korea has neither of these two conditions, the Korean history of leprosy presents interesting challenges and provokes further questions as to whether a history of leprosy can be written. `Can history of leprosy be written?' is a question that is explored through Korean history of leprosy from the pre - modern Chosŏn to post - Korean era that is examined in this dissertation.

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