Soju : A Global History

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Hyunhee Park offers the first global historical study of soju, the distinctive distilled drink of Korea. Searching for soju's origins, Park leads us into the vast, complex world of premodern Eurasia. She demonstrates how the Mongol conquests of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries wove together hemispheric flows of trade, empire, scientific and technological transfer and created the conditions for the development of a singularly Korean drink. Soju's rise in Korea marked the evolution of a new material culture through ongoing interactions between the global and local and between tradition and innovation in the adaptation and localization of new technologies. Park's vivid new history shows how these cross-cultural encounters laid the foundations for the creation of a globally connected world.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 300 pages
  • 230 x 150 x 20mm | 580g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 1108842011
  • 9781108842013

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Soju and Arak: The Eurasian Roots of Distilled Liquors; 2. The Mongols and the Rise of Soju in Koryo Korea; 3. Contextualizing Soju: Political Relations and Cultural Transfers between the Mongol Empire and Koryo Korea; 4. Distilling Soju at Court and Home in Choson Korea; 5. Challenges of Modernity: The Rise of Modern Industrial Soju and Revival of Traditional Soju; 6. Alcohol Globalism: Distillation Technology in Afro-Eurasia and other areas of the World - The Cases of Japan and Mexico; Conclusion: Soju in Global Cross-Cultural Exchanges.
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Review quote

'This is a thorough, scholarly, excellently researched study of the origins and rise of soju, Korea's distinctive distilled alcoholic drink, which extends our knowledge of food and of technology significantly, by putting the rise of soju in global context over a thousand years of history. Providing unique documentation of a beverage world otherwise almost unknown outside Korea, it is a welcome addition to global food studies.' Eugene N. Anderson, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Riverside 'Soju is a very useful addition to the field of early modern alcohol studies. The depth and breadth of the evidence is extraordinary and Hyunhee Park's easily accessible style makes the work valuable to audiences well beyond Asian specialists. Ultimately, the book may help to shift the gaze away from sixteenth-century Europe and toward early modern Asia when discussing the origins of globalization.' Gina Hames, Pacific Lutheran University 'Hyunhee Park shows how Korea's soju arose in the global context of a Mongol world, how it developed as a local and national liquor, and how it has become global itself in a new globalization. Brilliant and interdisciplinary, the volume explores the deep and dynamic roots of a popular liquor.' Dongwon Shin, Jeonbuk National University '... Soju: A Global History is a study in possibilities for how to think about global history as well as how to reframe Korean and northeast Asian history therein. Foregrounding material exchange and technology as the chief lens for Korean globalisms allows not only an escape from the myopia of ethno-centric nationalism, but also a clear glimpse at the dynamic interplay of material mobilities, technological acculturation, and identity (re)formations. That dynamic at the heart of Soju is both proof of Korea's global entanglement and a clarion to excavate the bedrock of this cultural powerhouse's globalism.' Aaron Molnar, International Journal of Asian Studies
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About Hyunhee Park

Hyunhee Park is Associate Professor of History at the City University of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the CUNY Graduate Center.
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