Creating a new space: Gendered space and worship in Korean church architecture

2009 2009

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Abstract (summary)

Hierarchical gendered asymmetry has been clearly expressed in Korean church architecture under the dominant influence of fixed, separated spatial functions that are rooted in Confucian masculinist metaphysics rather than the more flexible, interconnected Shamanistic principles. This dissertation proposes new design paradigms that employ fluid, interrelated feminist qualities to enable the creation of more inclusive and egalitarian church architectures.

After examining the Korean religious contexts in which Confucianism and Shamanism emerged and prospered, the analytic move surveys, interprets, and critiques Confucian and Shamanistic architecture and rituals in chapter II. To show that Korean church architecture has been a gendered space influenced by Confucianism and Shamanism, chapter III explores two case studies: one church in Seoul, Korea, and another in Janghang, Korea. The synthetic, constructive move looks at theoretical backgrounds and practical suggestions in terms of church architecture as gendered space. In chapter IV, four voices and images from different fields are woven into a synthetic model that reflects feminist principles of designing architecture, women's ritualizing, yin-yang theory, and Shamanism. Chapter V suggests specific design examples and paradigms, which are illustrated through a description of two church buildings (Kyongdong Church in Seoul, Cannon Chapel at Emory University in Atlanta), one renovation (Philadelphia Cathedral in Philadelphia), and one monument (Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC). Chapter VI presents a new design paradigm for church architecture with respect to principles of theoretical foundations, architectural design guidelines, and practical proposals.

This dissertation contributes to liturgical studies by (1) addressing the various intersection of the various fields within liturgical studies both from a feminist perspective and from the perspective of gendered space in architecture, (2) showing that church architecture is a major hermeneutical lens through which worship can be interpreted, (3) offering new church plan concepts that include more interrelated and flexible qualities, and (4) noting that this study is most significant for the Korean Protestant church although it retains far-reaching value for traditionally liturgical churches. Thus, this dissertation challenges liturgical scholars to theorize and theologize new church architectures that push beyond strict gendered space while reflecting Korean sensibilities appropriate to the 21st century.

Indexing (details)

Womens studies;
Church buildings
0453: Womens studies
0469: Theology
0729: Architecture
Identifier / keyword
Philosophy, religion and theology; Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Church architecture; Gender; Korean; Space; Worship
Creating a new space: Gendered space and worship in Korean church architecture
Chung, Francis Tae-Young
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 70/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Larson-Miller, Lizette
Graduate Theological Union
University location
United States -- California
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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