Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The Waterlogged Limits of the Infrastructural State: The Failure of the T’aean Canalization Projects in Pre-Industrial Korea, 1134-1537

Lee, John S.

The Waterlogged Limits of the Infrastructural State: The Failure of the T’aean Canalization Projects in Pre-Industrial Korea, 1134-1537 Thumbnail


Authors



Abstract

One of the chronic problems of pre-industrial Korean history has been the difficulty of material integration between core regions of the Korean peninsula. This article analyzes five major canalization attempts made by Koryŏ and Chosŏn states in the T’aean region to address the problem of infrastructural integration. Located along a critical shipping route between the southern grain basket and the capital region, the T’aean coastline had been infamous for centuries for its treacherous tides and proclivity for hastening shipwrecks. Consequently, from 1134 to 1537, Koryŏ and Chosŏn officials attempted canalization projects that, if successful, would have allowed grain ships to bypass the most troublesome zones. However, the canalization efforts all ended in failure. Utilizing Chosŏn-era institutional records, I argue that the canalization failures: 1) exposed a preindustrial state’s logistical and technological limits, notably, the difficulty of coastal canalization efforts in areas of high tidal variation and granite bedrock, and 2) prompted shifts in the infrastructural priorities of the Chosŏn state.

Citation

Lee, J. S. (2020). The Waterlogged Limits of the Infrastructural State: The Failure of the T’aean Canalization Projects in Pre-Industrial Korea, 1134-1537. International journal of Korean history, 25(1), 15-40. https://doi.org/10.22372/ijkh.2019.25.1.15

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 2, 2020
Online Publication Date Feb 29, 2020
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Mar 10, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 2, 2020
Journal International journal of Korean history
Print ISSN 1598-2041
Electronic ISSN 2508-5921
Publisher Center for Korean History, Korea University
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 1
Pages 15-40
DOI https://doi.org/10.22372/ijkh.2019.25.1.15

Files





You might also like



Downloadable Citations