Kyongju is the archeological site of the royal capital of the first millennium kingdom of Silla. Because its ancient objects have mattered a great deal not only to its citizens but to the South Korean state and a variety of international actors, Kyongju is the site of a unique intersection of Kyongju "things." Oppenheim uses the controversy spurred by the proposed routing of South Korea's first high-speed railway line through Kyongju, to detail a battle in which the futures of Korean democracy, national culture, and Kyongju development were all said to be at stake.
Robert Oppenheim is Assistant Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
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