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Journal of Korean and Asian Arts


The ‘Scholar’s Stone’ (Suseok수석 水石) which is used as an extensive and pervasive motif in Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film reveals a good deal of what the concept of ‘intersectionality’ in Critical Race Theory (CRT) seeks to uncover. The Scholar’s Stone functions also as a prism to see refracted through the movie the various hues and colors of Confucian culture still present in contemporary Korea, and these in turn can be further analyzed using aspects of CRT. To ground this thesis, I employ the established cultural anthropology concepts of ‘fundamental values and root paradigms’ along with ‘excess of meaning’ and ‘fusion of horizons’ from hermeneutical theory. These considerations can broaden our cross-cultural perspectives in both directions and facilitate some helpful cross-fertilization that may nurture both inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural analysis and synthesis.

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