Critical Issues Forum: Concept and Identity in Contemporary Korea

Candlelight movement photo by Hanwool Kim 김한울Seoul 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 will lecture on the 2017 candlelight movementPark 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.