Child Welfare, Leprosy, and Mental Illness

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  • Title: Child Welfare, Leprosy, and Mental Illness: Australian Medical Volunteerism in Modern Korea (1902–1941)
  • Author(s): David W. Kim
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Religion in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society
  • Keywords: Volunteerism, Kyŏngnam, Modern Korea, Leprosy, Charles I. McLaren
  • Volume: 9
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2154-8633 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8641 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v09i02/55-70
  • Citation: Kim, David W. . 2019. "Child Welfare, Leprosy, and Mental Illness: Australian Medical Volunteerism in Modern Korea (1902–1941)." The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society 9 (2): 55-70. doi:10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v09i02/55-70.
  • Extent: 16 pages

Abstract

Modern Korea witnessed a historical transition from the Daehan Empire (1897–1910) to the colonial reign (1910–1945). During this time, over seventy Australian men and women voluntarily came to the Korean peninsula in order to enlighten the Kyŏngnam province. While the colonial policy was harsh, the social workers under the spirit of the Student Volunteer Movement (SVM) introduced a liberal ideology. The focus of these people included improvements in education, health, and culture for the less privileged, such as women and children. How did they then involve the public health of Korea? What was their strategy to improve the local health in Kyŏngnam province? What was their influence on the modernisation of Korean medical science? This paper not only explores the testimonial sources of official correspondence, personal diaries, local and international newspapers, original publications, and diplomatic documents, but also argues the insight that the introduction of modern medical and health technology positively challenged the traditional concepts of sickness and treatment, especially for child welfare, leprosy, and mental illness.