[KS] Korea in US/US in Korean textbooks

Hyangsoon Yi hyangsyi at arches.uga.edu
Fri Dec 15 15:37:38 EST 2000

Dear Professor Peterson,

Regarding Dr. VanSickle's work, I asked him if he could respond
directly. This way, I can avoid any misrepresentation of his research.
His paper that I mentioned in my previous posting is entitled:
"Perceptions of the United States in Middle School Social Studies
Textbooks of the Republic of Korea." It was presented at the 1999
meeting of the Internaional Assembly of the National Council for the
Social Studies.

To turn to the issue of the Chinese gentry, the students point out the
extent to which the ideal of scholar-official has contributed to shaping
Koreans' self-image in the modern period. In relation to this, they
often mention the impact of students' political activism in Korea. The
treatment of intellectuals in China in recent history is obviously a
backdrop for this comparison, I guess. Some mention the passivity of a
hero in Chinese literature--a type of person who lets things happen to
him rather than actively pursuing something. Their examples are usually
from _The Story of Stone_ or _Red Sorghum_.

Here, I must add that these are not seasoned doctoral students in East
Asian studies but  undergraduate general literature majors. Although
their exposure to East Asian literary and cultural traditions are
limited, they seem to firmly believe that Koreans put more emphasis on
the importance of social engagement for a hero.


Hyangsoon Yi
University of Georgia

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