Seoul National University professor Park Myoung-Kyu will lead the Center for Korean Studies’ Ninth Forum on Critical Issues in Korean Studies February 15–16, 2018. Park will present a lecture titled “Concept and Identity in Contemporary Korea: Contested Subjectivities in the Candlelight Movement in 2017” on February 15 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in the Center auditorium.
The voices of those gathered at Gwanghwamoon plaza in 2017 were powerful enough to push Korean lawmakers and the judges of the Constitutional Court to impeach and convict President Park Geunhye. This peaceful collective movement is regarded as an example of the “strong civil society” and “consolidated democracy” of Korea.
It would be wrong, Professor Park will contend in his lecture, to consider the people as a homogeneous unity. In fact, he says, there were many voices with different backgrounds and interests. The people in the plaza shared some vision, but their motivations, emotions, and orientations differed. During and after the candlelight revolution, there has been a dynamic process of identity disputes regarding the question of “who are we?”
In his presentation, Professor Park will explore the continuity and discontinuity of the 2017 candlelight movement, locating it in the socio-historical trajectory of subjectivity construction in modern Korea. Park will also lead a related seminar for Korean studies graduate students on February 16.
Park Myoung-Kyu is a professor of sociology at Seoul National University and president of the Korean Sociological Association. He received his Ph.D. from Seoul National University. He has previously been director of the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies (2006–2016) and Social Development Research Institute (2002–2004), chairman of the History and Society Editorial Board (2002–2004), and president of the Korean Social History Association (2002–2004). He is editor-in-chief of the Asian Journal of Peacebuilding.
Park’s research fields are social history, sociology of nation and national identity, inter-Korean relations, conceptual history, and sociology of religion. He has been a visiting fellow at the Harvard-Yenching Institute (1989–1990), visiting scholar at the University of California, Irvine (1998–1999), visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley (2003–2004), and international scholar fellow at Humanities Center of Stanford University (2015).
His recent publications include Sociology of Borderline in Inter-Korean Relations (in Korean, 2012) and North Korean Diaspora (co-authored, 2011).
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.