Rice Cycles and Price Cycles: Local Knowledge and Global Trade in Korea, 1870-1933
Conférence de Holly Stephens (Université d’Édimbourg) dans le cadre du séminaire “Intelligences de la Corée” animé par Alain Delissen, Isabelle Sancho et Valérie Gelézeau (CCJ-CRC).
Vendredi 21 février 2020
De 10h à 12h
Maison de l’Asie
22 av du Président-Wilson 75016 Paris
Résumé de l’intervention
In this talk, I assess the impact of the international grain trade on local markets in Ulsan, southeastern Korea, following the opening of Korean ports in 1876. While previous studies have examined the international rice trade as an extension of Japanese imperialism in northeast Asia, little is known about how ordinary producers experienced and understood these changes within the context of their local economic activity. Drawing from the diary of Sim Wŏn’gwŏn (1850-1933), a local farmer, I examine how Sim used his diary to develop an economic worldview based on cyclical, seasonal price changes. While this enabled Sim to anticipate some fluctuations in weather and harvest patterns, the international rice trade posed a challenge as prices in local markets began to reflect events beyond Sim’s sphere of information. Ultimately, uneven access to knowledge shaped Sim’s participation in international trade, which cannot be understood without reference to Sim’s own understanding of the economy.