Journey to the Grave, Dance to Paradise: Kokdu and traditional funeral culture in Korea

A Special lecture with Laurel Kendall of American Museum of Natural History and Columbia University

Thursday, June 27, 2019, 3:30 pm

53rd Street Library | NYPL
18 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

This event is free with RSVP

Presented by the Korean Cultural Centre New York in collaboration with the 53rd Street branch of The New York Public Library

Join our special lecture with Dr. Laurel Kendall about kokdu and Korean traditional funeral culture!

About the Lecture:

Passages from the world of the living to the realm of the dead, from a lived social identity to ancestorship, were richly marked in traditional Korean social practice. The whimsical kokdu at the top of a funeral bier accompanied the dead in forms suggesting ceremonious and sometimes exuberant performance. In this informative lecture, anthropologist Laurel Kendall discusses the kokdu in the context of ritualized processions that witnessed death, mourning, and transition in traditional funerals and in shaman rituals for the dead

About Dr. Laurel Kendall

Dr. Kendall is Chair of the Division of Anthropology and Curator of Asian Ethnographic Collections at the American Museum of Natural History, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University, and a former president of the Association for Asian Studies. Dr. Kendall began her long acquaintance with South Korean life in 1970 as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, when a chance encounter with female shamans led her to subsequent anthropological fieldwork.

Her Shamans, Nostalgias, and the IMF: South Korean Popular Religion in Motion (University of Hawaii Press, 2009) offers a 30-year perspective on people described in Shamans, Housewives, and other Restless Spirits: Women in Korean Ritual Life (1985) and The Life and Hard Times of a Korean Shaman (1988). Recently, Dr. Kendall published God Pictures in Korean Contexts: The Ownership and Meaning of Shaman Paintings co-authored with Jongsung Yang and Yul Soo Yoon (2015). In 2010, Korean colleagues awarded Shamans, Nostalgias, and the IMF the first Yim Suk Jay Prize recognizing a work of anthropology about Korea by a non-Korean. In 2007 the International Society for Shamanic research gave Dr. Kendall a lifetime achievement award.

This talk is presented as a related event of Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels, a live film and concert experience at Lincoln Center on Saturday June 29th, 7 pm. For more information and synopsis, please click here.

Miro Yoon