This paper focuses on the intimate relationship between increased English immersion education in Korean universities and the Korean government’s globalization policy. University rankings led to an increase in the number of the foreign professors and foreign students. Korean history departments are no exceptions, and being able to lecture in English is often an important requirement for new hires and foreign professors is teaching in Korean history. We need to find various ways to ensure that there are enough Korean historians educated in Korea who are competent to teach in English. It seems to be essential to nurture scholars who are knowledgeable about both Korean and Western versions of Korean history and who are able to teach Korean history in English from these two perspectives. Additionally, it is important to increase the number of Korean history textbooks which Korean academics write and translate. Such textbooks convey Korean scholars’ perspectives on Korean history. It is not only Korean students, but also foreign students who study abroad, who are able to learn the Korean version of Korean history by using textbooks produced by Korean academics.
This paper is a report as well as a case study of teaching pre-modern Korean history in English by Korean teachers who have studied in Korea. The students who took these courses consisted of three different groups: American exchange students, Chinese students, and Korean students. Each of these groups showed varying interest based on their intellectual backgrounds. The American students exhibited more interest in interactive learning such as Korean traditional music and field trips to sites of various examples of Korean historical architecture, while the Korean and Chinese students found this architecture familiar and were not as enthusiastic as the American students. Regarding the three groups’ general responses to the course, the Chinese student were surprised to find China being depicted as invaders, while the Korean students were intrigued by different interpretations of their national history than they had been accustomed to. The American students, on the other hand, were quite unemotional concerning the various interpretations of Korean history. These reactions showed how ones’ perspective on history is heavily influenced by ones’ educational background. Overall, these courses were very interesting and helpful as they allowed both students and lecturers to widen their understanding of how Korean history is perceived and perpetuated by different academic societies.
Our project, “Teaching Korean History in English,” includes both research, and teaching which was offered to both Korean and foreign undergraduate students at Yonsei University, Wonju Campus. This paper is focused on one of the lecture topics in our module, “Japan’s advance on Korea,” during the first half of the twentieth century, and relates the intensive intercommunication that I, as a course instructor, had with the students, when they organized an in-class discussion on the topic. One of the goals in our course is to encourage students to learn different versions of Korean history, and produce historical knowledge for interpreting and acting upon the world from a wider perspective. As subjects of history, these students involve themselves in historical production by analyzing the text and expressing their opinions, which are their own historical narratives. My experimental study suggests that their social position and experience affect their relationship to the past, and influence the structure of their historical accounts. Teaching Korean history in English seems to play a distinctive role in providing students with opportunities to compare and analyze the views provided by scholars who have different social and academic backgrounds.
If information on the Web has appropriate credibility and content to be used for Korean history courses taught in English, we can categorize this information according to two main criteria. If the information takes the form of a written text, we can categorize the text according to the language in which it is written, Korean, English, Chinese, or Japanese being the most common. The most convenient language for our purpose, of course, is English. The other main criterion is the medium by which the information is conveyed. Information will be in the form of text, still images, or moving images. The more convenient forms for our purposes are still and moving images. Combining the two criteria, the most convenient and effective form of information to be used in Korean history courses in English would be visual media in English, followed by visual media in Korean, and English texts, respectively.
This article was written as a part of a project to design an introductory Korean history course conducted in English for foreign students. Normally, the lectures would have been tailored to accommodate the students’ background knowledge in Korean history. Because of the diversity of the student population, however, it was difficult to measure their background knowledge in Korean history as a group. Therefore, we decided to focus on the way Korean history is taught in the U.S. public education system. I picked the U.S. since it is the nation where Korean studies is most advanced outside Korea. Since the educational reform of the 1980s, the U.S. education system has emphasized importance of history education. Another part of the reform was the attempt to improve the quality of education by standardizing textbooks and evaluative methods. In addition, the debate on what should be taught in history classes offered by public schools began to attract more attention as the debate on how to structure the standard history textbooks intensified. Putting aside the political agendas, at the center of the debate was the position of European history in world history. In other words, the main disagreement was on whether world history should be centered on European history as it was traditionally done or be restructured to better accommodate the kind of global perspective that springs from cultural relativism. The debate is still alive and will continue to be relevant as research in history continues to advance. Analysis of history education standards for K-12 in three relatively large U.S. states (California, Texas, and Florida) indicates that there is not enough time allocated for world history, with the exception of California. Again with the exception of California, Korean history also takes up only a miniscule part of world history education. As shown in the examples of three U.S. universities with good Korean studies programs (UCLA, Harvard University, Columbia University), education in Korean history in U.S. universities is very much inferior compared with that of Chinese or Japanese history. An exception is UCLA which offers many more classes in Korean studies than others. The courses that they offer also tend to focus on social or cultural history rather than the more traditional forms of courses that focus on political, institutional, or economical history.
The tradition of yeonhaengrok is enmeshed with the tradition of Korean missions to China. Korean literati from the late Goryeo wrote of their experiences in Ming China using the titles Jocheonrok and Gwangwangrok. It is well-known that the term jocheon has a connotation of experiencing the land of the son of heaven. Gwanwang, which has an equally strong connotation of experiencing the superior culture of the Ming, was also widely used in early Joseon as the title of such records. After establishing the involuntary diplomatic relationship with the Manchu Qing after the fall of the Ming, such records were titled yeonhaeng (going to Beijing) in order to erase the connotation of sadae (serving the great). Out of the approximately 380 extant records from Korean missions to China, approximately 280 were written during the Qing period. Approximately 120 were written during the eighteenth century, making the eighteenth century the “peak” of yeonhaengrok. Among the eighteenth- century yeonhaengrok, Kim Changeob’s Nogajae yeonhaeng ilgi, Hong Daeyong’s Yeongi, and Bak Jiwon’s Yeolha ilgi have been extensively researched as paragons of yeonhaengrok literature. Yi Giji’s Ilam yeongi, recently discovered to have great significance, includes extensive descriptions of the cultures, institutions, and technologies of China and the West. It also deserves a multifaceted examination and analysis as one of the representative yeonhaengrok works of the eighteenth century. From the yeonhaengrok writings that have been collected and compiled so far, works of translation and annotation have centered around the works of Bak Jiwon, Hong Daeyong, and Kim Changeob. Academic research from disciplines such as literature, history, philosophy and arts on yeonhaengrok have also centered around the aforementioned works. There is a clear need for translation and research activities to expand and cover other yeonhaengrok writings. From here, I believe systematic and collaborative research on the yeonhaengrok-specific system of discourse, specific modes of production and circulation of knowledge, culture, and information in premodern East Asia, and the significance of yeonhaengrok written in vernacular Korean vis-à-vis pieces written in classical Chinese, would allow a systematic understanding of the common aesthetic foundation of the yeonhaengrok writings in their entirety.
The geopolitical location of the Korean peninsula is often considered to be a borderland or a buffer zone, providing conditions for the dynamics of cultural diversity and power struggles throughout its long history. In addition, the historical separation of the written (Chinese) language from the spoken (Korean) language in daily life has produced numerous examples of overlapping place names that identify the same site concurrently. Study of this unique situation within which Korean place names lie is thought to be better suited to the perspective of cultural politics. In this context, this paper aims to examine diverse cases connected with cultural-political transformation behind Korean place names, focusing on the elements of ideology, identity, power, and territory. This examination details the process of cultural politics, wherein a social group would only include the self-identity within its own territory while excluding the other from its own territory. In particular, the field work, aided by written documents, unveils the history that the contestation or contention among the territories of place names ended with the growth of territoriality by a dominant social group in order to consolidate its own territorial identity.
This paper aims to examine the history of the South Korean independent documentary movement since its formation in the 1980s. Questioning why social documentaries arose in the mid 1980s, this study traces the origin of independent documentary back to Gwangju Video, the compilations of the video footage that contain the scenes of the 1980 Gwangju Uprising. It argues that Gwangju Video, by presenting anti-statism and communalism, prefigured the major themes of succeeding independent documentaries, and that the Video also provided a model for the collective mode of documentary production. By analyzing documentarian Kim Dong-Won’s The Sanggyedong Olympics and Repatriation and what can be termed post Age-of-Resistance documentaries, this study shows that the themes established by Gwangju Video have been expanded and elaborated through the development of the independent documentary movement.