Think much about the Korean kingdom of Koryŏ (918‑1392) these days? Probably not, unless you’re one of the small number of scholars specializing in that period. Historian Edward J. Shultz — who is one of those scholars — wants to tell you why some consideration of Koryŏ even at this late date will reward the effort. He will do so in a Center for Korean Studies colloquium Tuesday, March 10, 2015, at 4:00 p.m.
Shultz suggests that those who do not know about and appreciate the history of Koryŏ are missing one of the great stories of Korea’s past and are lacking background information important for understanding Korea today. What happened one hundred or even five hundred years ago still carries meaning today, he says.
The study of Koryŏ reveals that the kingdom was very much in the mainstream of world historical developments. It was a society that embraced merit as an avenue for advancement, it led the world in printing technology, it demanded that its historians be free from outside influences, it grappled with issues of nationalism versus internationalism, it pursued a foreign policy based on hard realism, it openly borrowed from other cultures, it developed a clear identity of being Korean, and it produced artistic masterpieces of world renown. All this was made even richer by its embracing of a pluralist posture that allowed competing ideologies and points of view to exist side by side. In this respect, Shultz says, Koryŏ was very modern. How we look at this past can tell us much about what we are thinking or experiencing today.
Edward J. Shultz is professor emeritus of history at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and interim chancellor of Hawai’i Tokai International College. He is a former dean of the UH School of Pacific and Asian Studies and former director of the Center for Korean Studies. Shultz is the author of Generals and Scholars: Military Rule in Medieval Korea and numerous articles on the history of Koryŏ and is the translator, with Hugh Kang, of the Koguryŏ Annals of the Samguk Sagi and book two of Koryŏsa Chŏryo.
The colloquium will be held in the Center for Korean Studies conference room from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Center for Korean Studies colloquia are free and open to the public. The Center is located at 1881 East-West Road on the UH Mānoa campus. Paid parking is available in the lot mauka of the CKS building elsewhere on campus. For further information, including arrangements for access for the handicapped, telephone the Center at (808) 956‑7041.