This chapter, which introduces an alternative framework for understanding factory women in the colonial era and, by extension, female wage workers in twentieth-century Korea, analyzes the historiography of working women in light of colonial nationalist, socialist, and feminist perspectives. It also argues that colonial women workers did not conceive of themselves as ideologues who spoke on behalf of all Korean women. The history of women's legal and social emancipation in early twentieth-century Korea has been irrevocably connected to the crusade for national liberation. It is noted that modernization and colonization evolved concurrently in early twentieth-century Korea. The activities and testimonies of factory workers show the prevalence of popular forms of gender, labor, social, and political consciousness among ordinary women in colonial Korea. Finally, an overview of the chapters included in this book is given.
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