[KS] Re: Collaboration (fwd)

michael robinson mrobinso at indiana.edu
Thu Feb 4 13:58:07 EST 1999

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 11:06:17 -0500
From: Frank Hoffmann <hoffmann at fas.harvard.edu>
To: mrobinso at indiana.edu
Subject: Re: Collaboration

Hi Professor Robinson:

It * s e e m s * to me you send this by mistake only to me -- not to the list
(korean-studies at mailbase.ac.uk) .... please check if you have gotten a copy
of your own posting before via the list.


thanks, frank        mr

Dear List:

I've been reading the discussion on collaboration.  A worthy if
over doneissue in all historiography.  More history on all topics in my opinion
usually takes care of the issue.  The collaborator non-collaborator
dichotomy is  fairly useless for  analysis.  It belies the very complexity
human motivation and circumstances.  Gary is right, it seems useless to
create elaborate arguments about Yi KS's collaboration.  His record speaks
for itself a complex life filled with activities the sum total of which
remain ambiguous when weighed on a scale of moral judgements.  The
designation seems useful for nationalist or identity polemicists, less
important, perhaps, to others.  I would be in favor of more research on
colonial Korea, but I would avoid leaping in to "solve" the collaboration
issue.  It seems if we knew more about the whole, we would be in a better
position to make these difficult and often unfair judgements about some
dead person's "interests" "motives" "values" etc.  I also like Gari's
questions regarding the concept of collaboration itself.  Another  word I
frequently encountered is t'ahyop or (accommodation, compromise,) very
slippery ideas but for most cultures necessary given the choices dumped on
any normal human being in a lifetime.

I suppose these thoughts are part of a career of reading about people in a
colonial situation...attempting to put myself within their world and
wondering how to solve the seemingly impossible riddles presented by the

Frank Hoffmann * 1961 Columbia Pike #42 * Arlington, VA 22204 * USA
E-MAIL:  hoffmann at fas.harvard.edu
W W W :  http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~hoffmann/


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