The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Korean Language Flagship Center Special Lecture Series will feature a program on the traditional Korean wedding ceremony Thursday, September 21, 2017, from 3:00 to 4:15 p.m. The program will be conducted by Sang Lee, a distinguished artist of the Korean community in Hawai‘i.
Over the past thirty-five years, Sang Lee has made many artistic contributions to the Islands by introducing rich Korean traditions such as wedding ceremonies, calligraphy, and paintings. His artworks portray a tangible connection between the past and the present of Korea and the United States, the essence of the Korean Language Flagship Center of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Along with the demonstration of the traditional wedding ceremony, the program will include dance performances by Mary Jo Freshley, director of the Halla Huhm Korean Dance Studio; Clara Hur, a Korean Flagship M.A. student; and Annette Lee, a UH Mānoa business student. Replicas of several traditional royal costumes will also be on display.
The program is free and open to the public and will take place in the Center for Korean Studies auditorium at 1881 East-West Road on the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa campus. For further information, contact the Korean Language Flagship Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (808) 956‑8469. For more information about the Flagship program, see Korean Language Flagship Center.
Issues of modernism in mid-twentieth-century Korea will be at the heart of discussions when the Center for Korean Studies presents its eighth Forum on Critical Issues in Korean Studies August 31 and September 1, 2017. The featured speaker will be Janet Poole of the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Presentations both days will take place at 4:00 p.m. at the Center.
On Thursday, August 31, Poole will present a lecture titled “Futures Interrupted: Going North and the History of Korean Modernism.” The lecture will center on Yi T’aejun and Ch’oe Myŏngik, celebrated fiction writers in the late colonial period. Poole presents the two as representing the antiquarian and decadent tendencies of contemporary writing in the Korean language. Though they were acknowledged as modernists during the 1930s, their work is usually understood as having regressed after Liberation under the influence of the North Korean society to which they moved (in the case of Yi) or in which they stayed (in the case of Ch’oe) after the division of the peninsula. This talk will take an exploratory look at Yi’s and Ch’oe’s writing from the late colonial and early post-Liberation periods and ask two questions: Can we think of literary works from the era of the Asia-Pacific and Korean wars as forming part of an ongoing modernist project? And what is at stake in doing so?
Crossing the Great Divide
On the second day, Friday, September 1, Poole will lead a discussion on the topic “Crossing the Great Divide: Mid-Century Modernism on the Korean Peninsula.” Her point of departure is a call by historian Yun Haedong for a rethinking of mid-twentieth-century Korean history, extending the rubric of total mobilization from the beginning of the second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 past the dramatic events of liberation from colonial rule and onto the end of active fighting in the civil war in the mid-1950s. Whereas total mobilization refers more commonly to the era of Japanese imperialism, Yun argues for continuity across the colonial/postcolonial/Cold War divides marked by the formation of separate states on the peninsula in 1948. Poole regards Yun’s polemic as highly suggestive for a reconsideration of Korean literary texts and images, which have been equally sundered by the division—both temporal and spatial—into an implacable contest between realism and modernism. She will address the question of whether an expansive understanding of Total War, together with a reconsideration of modernism as a response to the multiple temporalities of global modernity, offer strategies to cross the great divide in the realm of aesthetics and politics?
About Janet Poole
Janet Poole earned her B.A. (Honours) in Japanese and Korean at the University of London, her M.A. in Korean literature at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and her Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. Her research and teaching interests lie in aesthetics in the broad context of colonialism and modernity, in history and theories of translation, and in the creative practice of literary translation.
Her latest book, When the Future Disappears: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea (Columbia University Press, 2014), writes the creative works of Korea’s writers into the history of global modernism, and colonialism into the history of fascism, through an exploration of the writings of poets, essay writers, fiction writers, and philosophers from the final years of the Japanese empire. She is also the translator of a collection of anecdotal essays published during the Pacific War by Yi T’aejun, Eastern Sentiments (Columbia University Press, 2013).
Her awards include the Weatherhead East Asia Institute First Book Prize, 2012; the Korean Literature Translation Institute Selected Translator Award, 2010; Distinction awarded for her dissertation, “Colonial Interiors: Modernist Fiction of Korea,” 2004; and the 32nd Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Awards, Short story category, for her translation of “The Walk of Light” by Yun Dae-nyong, 2001.
Poole is currently working on an exploration of the remains of colonial history through a study of Japanese-style houses on the Korean peninsula; a collection of essays on the social life of early twentieth-century photography; and a translation of Yi T’aejun’s short stories, including his later works from the early years of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
About the Forum
The Forum on Critical Issues in Korean Studies was inaugurated in 2010 to bring outstanding scholars from around the world to the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa campus for discussions of important contemporary topics related to Korea.
The Forum is free and open to the public. For further information, including information regarding access for the handicapped, telephone the Center for Korean Studies at (808) 956‑7041. This presentation is supported by the Doo Wook and Helen Nahm Choy Fund. The University of Hawai‘i is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.
The Center for Korean Studies is providing $55,000 in scholarships for twenty-one students in Korea-related studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa for the 2017‒2018 academic year. This year’s financial support includes the first awards of two recently established scholarships: the Kook Min Hur scholarship and the Doin and Hee Kyung Lee Kwon Scholarship.
The Kook Min Hur scholarship was created by the Korean National Association (Kungminhoe or Kook Min Hur) in memory of the sacrifices made by the many patriots of the organization. The KNA was established in Hawai‘i in 1909 for the purpose of uniting all Koreans in the United States in the common cause of liberating Korea from Japanese occupation.
The Do In Kwon and Hee Kyung Lee Kwon scholarship was established to honor the memory of the Kwons, two outstanding civic leaders among the early Korean community in Hawai‘i.
Descriptions of all the scholarships administered by the Center for Korean Studies and instructions for applying for them can be found on the Center for Korean Studies Web site. The deadline for applying for Center-managed scholarships for the 2018–2019 academic year is February 2, 2018.
The recipients of the 2017–1018 awards are listed below.
Center for Korean Studies Undergraduate Scholarships
Victoria Meza (B.A., Korean) $2,500
Holly Moehlman (B.A., Korean) $2,500
Center for Korean Studies Graduate Scholarships
Bonnie Fox (Ph.D., Korean) $2,500
Ki Tae Park (Ph.D., Sociology) $2,500
Esther Yi (M.A., Korean) $500
Donald C. W. Kim Scholarship
Yuki Asahina (Ph.D., Sociology) $5,000
Inho Jung (Ph.D., Korean) $5,000
Doin and Hee Kyung Lee Kwon Scholarship
Jae Hyun Lim (M.A., Music) $3,000
Dong Jae and Hyung Ja Lee Scholarship
Lacey Bonner (B.A., Korean) $1,700
Herbert H. Lee Scholarship
Soo Youn Kim (B.A., Korean) $4,500
Jee Hyun Lee (Ph.D., Korean) $2,000
Jai Eun Kim (M.A., Korean) $4,000
Kim Chŏn-hŭng Memorial Scholarship
Yoomee Baek (Ph.D., Music) $3,000
Seola Kim (Ph.D., Music) $3,600
Kook Min Hur Scholarship
Brianna Leisure (B.A., Korean) $1,750
N. H. Paul Chung Graduate Scholarship
Kyeongkuk Kim (Ph.D., Economics) $2,000
Yen-Zhi Peng (M.A., Asian Studies) $2,500
Robert York (Ph.D., History) $1,000
Yŏng-Min Endowed Scholarship
Hye Young Choi Smith (Ph.D., Korean) $1,830
Hyunjung An (Ph.D., Korean) $1,830
Sumire Matsuyama (Ph.D., Korean) $1,840
In addition, ten students are receiving financial support to study Korea through the federal Foreign Language and Area Studies program administered by the School of Pacific and Asian Studies. The are:
The University of Hawai‘i Press Journals Department has published on on-line interview with the new editor of Korean Studies, Prof. Christopher J. Bae.
Bae, a University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa professor of anthropology, recently became chair of the Center for Korean Studies Publications Committee and with that became also the editor of the Center’s journal and manager of its book series.
In the interview, Bae talks briefly about the history and scope of the journal, published continuously since 1977, and about its prospects under his editorship. The University of Hawai‘i Press is co-publisher of Korean Studies and of the Center’s book series, Hawai‘i Studies on Korea, initiated in 2000 and now numbering fifteen titles.
The Center for Korean Studies and the University of Hawai‘i Press have released the fifteenth volume in their Hawai‘i Studies on Korea series: Catholics and Anti-Catholicism in Chosŏn Korea by Don Baker with Franklin Rausch.
The book is available now from the University of Hawai‘i Press directly or though book dealers. The principal author, Don Baker, is professor of Korean civilization in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. His co-author, Franklin Rausch, is an assistant professor in the Department of History and Philosophy at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina.
Korea’s first significant encounter with the West occurred with the emergence of a Korean Catholic community in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Decades of persecution followed, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Korean Catholics. In this book, Baker provides an analysis of late-Chosŏn (1392–1897) thought, politics, and society to help readers understand the response of Confucians to Catholicism and of Korean Catholics to years of violent harassment.
Baker’s analysis is informed by two important documents translated with the assistance of Franklin Rausch and annotated here for the first time: an anti-Catholic essay written in the 1780s by Confucian scholar Ahn Chŏngbok (1712–1791) and a firsthand account of the 1801 anti-Catholic persecution by one of its last victims, the religious leader Hwang Sayŏng (1775–1801).
Ahn’s essay, Conversation on Catholicism, reveals Confucian assumptions about Catholicism. It is based on the scholar’s exchanges with his son-in-law, who joined the small group of Catholics in the 1780s. Ahn argues that Catholicism is immoral because it puts more importance on the salvation of one’s soul than on what is best for one’s family or community. Conspicuously absent from his Conversation is the reason behind the conversions of his son-in-law and a few other young Confucian intellectuals.
Baker examines numerous Confucian texts of the time to argue that, in the late eighteenth century, Korean Confucians were tormented by a growing concern over human moral frailty. Some came to view Catholicism as a way to overcome moral weakness, become virtuous, and, in the process, gain eternal life. These anxieties are echoed in Hwang’s Silk Letter, in which he details for the bishop in Beijing his persecution and the decade preceding it. He explains why Koreans joined (and some abandoned) the Catholic faith and their devotion to the new religion in the face of torture and execution.
These two texts together reveal much about not only Korean beliefs and values of two centuries ago, but also how Koreans viewed their country and their king as well as China and its culture.
For more information about this and other titles in the Hawai‘i Studies on Korea series, follow this link.