Korea with Empire: Resisting, Contesting, and Appropriating Transnational Universals
Posted on October 19, 2015
Institution: James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Organizers: Sixiang Wang (Moon Family Postdoctoral Fellow)
Sponsor: Eugene Y. Park (Korea Foundation Associate Professor)
Date: April 22nd–23rd, 2016
Call for papers, Abstract Deadline: January 6th, 2016
The history of the Korean peninsula has long been intertwined with imperial powers. These include not only the vast territorial Eurasian empires of the Tang, Mongols and Manchus and the colonial empire of Japan, but also, in the twentieth century, the Cold War superpowers of the Soviet Union and the United States. Interactions with these powers brought Korea to confrontation with different forms of universalizing ideologies, a dynamic which shaped and transformed Korean institutions and their historical development. More recently, international organizations such as the Untied Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the UNESCO World Heritage Program, and the International Court of Justice have provided both the institutional platform and the hegemonic discourses for Korean engagement with the broader world community.
This conference hopes to investigate the various ways Korean polities and Korean actors engaged with “empire,” broadly conceived as conceptual, institutional, and social structures justified by claims to universal normativity: whether they be represented by Confucian dynasties and international organizations, or enforced through Cold War orthodoxies. We are interested less in how “empire” has been imposed by outside powers, than how Korean actors resisted, contested, but especially, appropriated “empire” for their own ends. The aim of the conference is to promote comparative and cross-period discussion across disciplines. For instance, do Koryo or Choson period experiences with “empire” have lasting impacts on later interactions? How does modern and contemporary Korean international engagement inform understandings of Korea’s past?
We welcome papers across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, but ask that the perspective be at least partly historicist. We especially encourage graduate students and early career scholars to submit. Due to limitations of funding and space, only a select number of papers whose subject matter fit closely the aims of the conference will be accepted.
Possible topics include:
Questions of collaboration or resistance, transitions from imperialism to internationalism, engagement with hegemonic idea systems such as Buddhism, Confucianism, and Communism, evolving understandings of Korean identity, appropriation of international law, use of internationalist discourses such as cultural heritage, scientific modernity or ecology.
Final Papers will be pre-circulated. Presentations will be in panel form, 20–30 minutes per panelist.