Stepping in the Madang: Embodying Space and Place in Korean Drumming and Dance


ACLS Fellowship Program


Musicology and Ethnomusicology


The aim of this project is to address the spatialization of culture in Korean drumming and dance, centering on the concept of the “madang,” a cultural space that was revived in opposition to the Western stage in South Korea. While the madang can best be visualized as a village courtyard, it can also refer temporally to an occasion in time or socially to a sense of embodied communal participation. The thesis of this research contends that the participatory way of being that is cultivated in the madang counteracts the fossilization of tradition by bringing folk practices more fully into the embodied present, even if in an idealized fashion. This book demonstrates how this is accomplished in three ways: the madang draws attention to the body; it increases one’s awareness of space and place; and it creates open-ended performances that are conducive to a more dynamic range of social interactions.