Blood purity and scientific independence: blood science and postcolonial struggles in Korea, 1926–1975

Science in Context 32 (3):239-260 (2019)
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Abstract

ArgumentAfter World War II, blood groups became a symbol of anti-racial science. This paper aims to shed new light on the post-WWII history of blood groups and race, illuminating the postcolonial revitalization of racial serology in South Korea. In the prewar period, Japanese serologists developed a serological anthropology of Koreans in tandem with Japanese colonialism. The pioneering Korean hematologist Yi Samyŏl (1926–2015), inspired by decolonization movements during the 1960s, excavated and appropriated colonial serological anthropology to prove Koreans as biologically independent from the Japanese. However, his racial serology of Koreans shared colonial racism with Japanese anthropology, despite his anti-colonial nationalism.

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