1. KOREAN NOBI AND AMERICAN BLACK SLAVERY: AN ESSAY IN COMPARISON
This paper puts Korean nobi in international perspective-first-in comparison to the American black slavery, to capture their characteristics fully. Comparing Choson nobi-system prevalent in the 15th to 17th centuries and the black slavery in the antebellum southern United States, we found common features such that the two kinds of coerced labor had about one-third share in population; both were legally owner’s chattel as subject to sales and inheritance; most black slaves and a part of the nobi were fed and worked by their masters’ indicating they were of “true” slave status. On the other hand, although the average size of nobi-holding by Choson yangban (literati) was smaller than that of the American planters, the scale of ownership by some royal families and bureaucrats was beyond comparison. Read more.
Young-hoon Rhee* and Donghyu Yang**