Kyŏngju Things: Assembling Place is a richly detailed study of how the interaction between individuals and “things” helps constitute agency and determine “place.” Using the city of Kyŏngju, the historical capital of the Silla kingdom, as his backdrop, Robert Oppenheim offers a refreshing analysis of Korean history, politics, and culture that looks beyond the goings on in Seoul and employs theories such as actor-network theory to expand the boundaries of Korean studies.

According to Oppenheim, “things” are more than just “physical artifacts,” they are also “knowledge objects and conceptual forms, routinized procedures and techniques, and subjectivities” (p. 11). It is through the relationship between individuals and things that place comes into formation and becomes “an orienting setting, a vicinity of thing, where some (other) things and actions become more possible” (p. 12). Oppenheim carefully lays out this theoretical framework in his introduction, and then uses it to analyze how subjectivities,...

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