[KS] Re: AKSE Conference and the International Dimension

Ross King jrpking at unixg.ubc.ca
Wed Mar 10 13:02:23 EST 1999

Dear Andrea:

I suppose it does seem that  AKSE "seems to neglect an important aspect...
concerning to the relations between Korea and the international environment
(Foreign Policy, Security, Cooperation,
 International Law, International Economics, International Relations)..." etc.

But from my 4 short years working at SOAS earlier this decade, I recall
that this debate about whether or not AKSE should 'go modern' is an old one
(Keith Howard: wasn't BAKS formed as a sort of reaction to the situation
you lament?) , and frankly, I like the arguments for keeping it *more or
less* traditional.

Fact is that (by comparison to research on Korea in the humanities, and
especially on traditional Korea) there are zillions of articles and books,
and as many researchers writing on the topics you mention, and equally many
journals, conferences and symposia where people working in the areas you
mention can present their work.

My goodness, there are so many Korean political scientists right here in
North America that they have their own association and hold their own

I don't think that any of the AKSE stalwarts find the subjects you mention
uninteresting or unimportant, nor do I think paper submissions on these
topics are dismissed out of hand. But longstanding conferences like AKSE
develop characteristics and traditions of their own, and in the case of
AKSE, it is one of rather few quality arenas where scholars working on
'traditional Korea' and predominantly in the humanities (there aren't many
of us in the world, including Korean scholars themselves) can come together
without being distracted by or drowned in a dozen or more papers on the
topics you mention.

Ross King


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