[CFP] Between the Sacred and the Secular – Columbia

“Between the Sacred and the Secular:
Christianity as Lived Experience in Modern Korea”

For a special issue of the Journal of Korean Studies

A One-day Workshop at Columbia University, November 6, 2018

We invite proposals for a workshop on the theme, “Between the Sacred and the Secular: Christianity as Lived Experience in Modern Korea.”

Modern Korea has been characterized as a “secular” country, but since its introduction to Korea in the late nineteenth century Protestant Christianity (hereafter Christianity) has long been a critical force in shaping virtually every aspect of modern Korean life. Christianity in Korea has been intertwined with shifting political conditions, such as Western imperialism, Japanese colonialism, modern nation-state building, democracy movements and neoliberalism. It has also had a significant impact upon class formation, gender relations and everyday life practices. Furthermore, South Korea has become a prominent player in global Christianity, a leader in sending missionaries overseas. How should we understand the ubiquitous presence of Christianity in “secular” modern Korea? Recent scholarship suggests that the boundary between the sacred/religious and the secular/material has never been clear-cut; rather, it has been and remains fluid and constitutive.

We invite proposals that shed new light on the dynamic, sometimes conflicting and sometimes synergistic relationships that exist between the sacred and the secular in Korea. We are particularly interested in analyses that tease out the subtle but pervasive influence of Christianity within the sociopolitical, economic, cultural and affective domains. Taking Korea as a case study, we aim to offer significant insights into the intersection of the religious with the secular, material and social.

The workshop is being organized by the Center for Korean Research (CKR) of Columbia University with generous support from the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS-2016-OLU-2250006). The cost of accommodation, meals, and transportation will be covered for workshop participants, contingent upon budget availability. Please send a 300-word abstract and a brief biographical sketch that includes a list of representative publications by March 31, 2018 to the workshop organizer, Hyaeweol Choi (hyaeweol.choi@anu.edu.au).

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