I know my posts are all over the place today, but I just finished reading an interesting article about Baekjeong, which was Korea’s equivalent to the untouchable caste found in India.

Baekjeong were literally non-citizens who were forced to wear particular clothing and work in particular professions. These professions were the same as those found in the Untouchable caste of India (actually named Dalits), namely butchering and tanning, anything involving the use of animal skins.

It took me a long while to figure out why these professions were so ostracized (I am quite slow in this regard), but it now is clear that it had something to do with the tenets of Buddhism, which considers butchering (or even consuming) of animals to be dirty. I don’t know why I was so slow in this regard.
Regardless, the picture of the mask is the symbolic representation of the Baekjeong. Korea loves their masks (as do many cultures) and there are many, many masks to represent the various professions and types in Korean society.

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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