[SEMU-YÉOL LECTURE] 2017 May - Food Heritage in Korea: How to Preserve and Develop Food Culture작성일   2017-04-17


Food Heritage in Korea: How to Preserve and Develop Food Culture 


Lecturer: Benjamin Joinau

Assistant professor, Hongik University


It is an evidence to say that food is both substance and symbol, providing physical nourishment and a key mode of communication that carries one's group culture. In a world of constant cultural contact and exchange, the change of diets seems to have accelerated, but the boundaries that separate cultures have not disappeared. Food is, in this context, more than ever maybe, essential to perform, express and maintain one's collective identity. Moreover, it has become a key factor in promoting one's culture as a soft power and it has also become a leading industry to foster. It is in such a context of both globalization and national branding focusing on local specificity, that the issue of food heritage in Korea came to exist. This lecture will present the different aspects of this quest for defining and preserving Korean food culture since the end of the 20th century: the role of cookbooks in writing a national cuisine, the rediscovery of royal court food culture, the long process of geographical indications recognition, the "kimchi war" and the registration of gimjang on the UNESCO intangible heritage list, the arrival of the Michelin guide... All these themes will help us to understand the different policies and strategies used to preserve and develop Korean food culture, both on institutional and private levels, locally and internationally. 





Benjamin Joinau is a doctor in cultural anthropology specialized in Korean Studies. He is a researcher of the Center of Korean Studies (CRC) at EHESS, Paris, and assistant professor at Hongik University, Seoul. He has been living and working in South Korea since 1994. His Ph.D. thesis has analyzed the regimes of otherness in Korean cinema. Beside cinema, he works on different materials like food culture and cityscape in both North and South Koreas. He was the host of the Arirang's TV show: "Tasty Trail with Benjamin" about Korean food culture. He anchors his methodological frame in Gilbert Durand’s « mythodology » in order to delineate the structures of Korean modern imaginary. He has published several articles and books in French, English and Korea. He is also the director of the publishing house Atelier des Cahiers ( 

Personal Website :





Education room (1st floor), Seoul Museum of History

55 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul


Date and Time

May 15th, 2017 (Mon)

11:30 A.M. to 13:00 P.M



No Admission Fee.


Contact (Registration required)


T: 02-745-5878

F: 02-736-5878