Following independence from Japan, Korean intellectuals were faced with the task of establishing a postcolonial intellectual community and discarding the legacy of the imperial academic system. An interesting artifact of the shifts in Korea’s intellectual community during this period is the interdisciplinary journal Hakpung (Academic Currents), published by Eulyoo Publishing. Hakpung captures the numerous changes that occurred within the academic community during these years, such as the contention between the Jindan Society’s positivism and Marxist scholars’ study of social economy, and the rise of the former to hegemonic dominance; the emergence of Americanism and alienation of socialism following the division of Korea and the Cold War; and the generational change in scholarship. Mainstream scholars shaped the academic discourse during the early years of nation building by reconstructing the knowledge they obtained through the imperial academic system as the tool and basis for establishing agency for the Korean nation, and by aligning themselves with the new dominant paradigm of American (Western) knowledge.
In the context of the establishment of Korean studies, this paper reviews the practices and development of university research institutions that led the way toward production of humanities knowledge in support of the historical and cultural identity of Koreans after the Korean War. Studies on Korea, which had previously been defined within the three different but interrelated regional perspectives, such as Far Eastern, Eastern, or East Asian, gradually came to be independent from these regional study groups with the formation of Korean studies. Along with this move came the decline and loss of regional views, the blooming and subsequent peripheralization of culturalist Korean linguistics which succeeded the tradition of Joseon studies formed in the colonial period. To a large extent, the separation of Korean Studies, driven by university humanities research institutes in the 1960s and 1970s, transformed the terrain and character of discourse on humanities.
This paper aims to discuss the relationship between the form of knowledge and the time consciousness that have been reified through Changjak-gwa bipyeong, a quarterly literary magazine that has been published continuously since its first issue in 1966. Changjak-gwa bipyeong adopted a form of historical writing that attempted to recover the colonialist perception of history,advancing the theory of internal development as its main theme. This paper calls its historical consciousness “time of a nation”—a consciousness that meaningful capitalist development or modernization must be initiated by a nation not by a ruling political power or specific class. In the 1970s, the key writers of Changjak-gwa bipyeong took a stand against the trend that supported the urban- and elites-centered literature and advanced the “theory of peasant literature” (nongmin munhangnon) and contributed to forming the framework of “the people and the intellectual.” The intellectual movements led by Changjak-gwa bipyeong in this period highlighted critics and historians with adequate historical consciousness as the most awakened citizens and, thus, emphasized the need for persistent critical writing as a vital practice for intellectuals.
This study focuses on the interdisciplinary moves made by the social sciences and historical studies regarding modern and contemporary Korean history. These moves began in earnest from the 1980s to analyze the dynamic development process of Korean studies. The periods analyzed as part of this study were marked by two dramatic transitions in academic trends. The first was that of the 1980s to the mid-1990s, a period in which a huge epistemological transition took place in the nationalism and internal development-based paradigm of historical studies, as well as in the developmentalism and modernization paradigm of social sciences. The second transition took place in the late 1990s, in which cultural approaches to history challenged traditional methods, and new paradigms based on postmodernity, postnationalism, and postcolonialism emerged. This study analyzes the academic activities and journals of two organizations that have continuously played a major role in informing the direction of modern and contemporary Korean history since the 1980s, namely the Korean Social History Association and the Institute for Korean Historical Studies.
This research aims at assessing the changes that have occurred to the nationalist minjung academic community, formed during the 1980s. The academic community advocated “nationalist minjung studies” in conjunction with academic activities outside of the university establishment and social movements that had been seeking social revolution. The community thus gave birth to counter-discourses in the knowledge community that had differentiated themselves from those of the 1960s and 1970s. The nationalist minjung academic communities, however, have been declining rapidly following the disintegration of the Soviet socialist block in 1991, the rise to power of a civilian government in South Korea and the adoption by that government of a new policy on knowledge. In an attempt to cope with the crisis and institutionalization of the 1980s nationalist minjung academic communities, alternative academic communities emerged in the 2000s that sought experiments distinguished from the institutionalized order of the collegiate establishments.
This paper sees the core problem faced by the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea as one of legitimacy and attempts to examine the National Representative Conference held in Shanghai in 1923 in consideration of the controversy over the Provisional Government’s legitimacy. Activists of the Korean independence movement founded the Provisional Government as a government in exile amidst this vacuum of legitimate authority, in line with the spirit of the March First Movement of 1919. However, the Provisional Government proved unable to establish supreme authority. Efforts to build the legitimacy of the Provisional Government culminated in the organization of the National Representative Conference (NRC), which brought together various independence movement activists. During the NRC, the legitimacy of the Provisional Government’s supreme authority was approached from four different perspectives: historical, constitutional, democratic, and value-oriented.
This paper explores the significance and consequences of a rare combination of a cosmopolitan vision with an Asian identity found in the political thoughts of Kim Dae-jung, the late President of the Republic of Korea (1998-2003). The paper first clarifies: 1) the meaning of cosmopolitanism as a key concept of the paper; 2) the strategy of the reconstruction of Kim’s political thoughts; 3) the Asian value debate between President Kim and Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore; and 4) Kim’s reconstruction of Confucianism based on his idea of universal globalism. The cosmopolitan reading of the Asian value debate neither rejects nor defends Asian values as they exist but embraces these within the framework of respecting diversities and differences. Consequently, the binary opposition between East and West as well as between relativism and universalism is superseded while the Asian identity is maintained as a condition for cosmopolitan identity. Based on these discussions, the paper draws attention to the substantive field of reconciliation policy between North and South Korea, notes how Kim attempted to overcome the West-centered globalism while keeping alive Asian identity in his progressive journey from the Asian value debate through universal globalism to cosmopolitanism.