[KS] Gwageo cheongsan (Kwageon ch'eongsan)

Vladimir Tikhonov vladimir.tikhonov at east.uio.no
Tue Sep 10 11:41:36 EDT 2002


Yes, you are right, and I am wrong - the right name is Yi YOnghun. The 
article that I read, was actually published in August 2002 <Sin DongA>: 

Thank you very much for the info on his book - I will try to find it 
somehow. I could understand that this new way of interpreting Late Choson 
agrarian history is novel and unconventional, and aspire to learn more!


V.Tikhonov (Pak Noja) teurim

At 08:29 10.09.2002 -0700, you wrote:
>Hi.  I would like to note just one small correction.  It is not Yi Suhun, 
>but Yi YOnghun.  He is a professor of Economics Department at the SNU.  I 
>agree with you that we should pay more attention to new waves of Korean 
>scholarship.  In that regard, I would like to recommend a book, Matchil Ui 
>nongmindUl, edited by An PyOngjik and Yi YOnghun if you have not yet known 
>this one.  This book is a product of joint research effort based on the 
>readings of TaejOri Pak-ssi komunsO.  You may find some surprisingly 
>different views that depart from conventional ones on the social and 
>economic conditions of 19th century rural Korea.
>Sun Joo Kim
>>From: Vladimir Tikhonov <vladimir.tikhonov at east.uio.no>
>>Reply-To: Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>>To: Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>>Subject: RE: [KS] Gwageo cheongsan (Kwageon ch'eongsan)
>>Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 12:40:50 +0200
>>Just in connection to what Koen is saying: I am strongly fascinated with 
>>many new approaches younger Korean historians of the later 1990s - early 
>>2000s apply to their past. For one thing, take Yi Suhun's theory on 
>>"sonong sahwe" ("small farmers-centered society") recently debated in 
>><Sin DongA>. Yi shows - and quite convincingly - that old Kim YongsOp's 
>>idea on the "growth of larger-scale commercial farming" in Late Choson is 
>>not factually true - the average size of land holdings was actually 
>>growing little smaller, although productivity did rise to some degree, 
>>mostly due to technical innovations (irrigation, etc.). Then, Yi argues 
>>that, although small scale and partly commercialized farming did not 
>>translate into the "sprouts of capitalism" itself (and, this, "neajae 
>>palchOn ron" was a rather far-fetched thing), it could support the 
>>development of "transplanted capitalism" - "transplanted" by Japanese 
>>colonial bureaucracy, and Yi explicitly admits it! - for it already 
>>developed the socio-psychological basis for acceptance of the main 
>>capitalistic norms, like  private ownership of the land. I do not think 
>>that theory explains everything in Korea's modern transition, but it is a 
>>great progress in comparison with Kim YongsOpian arguments - progress, 
>>largely unnoticed outside of Korea! Or look at how the attitudes on Hwang 
>>SayOng's famous "silk letter" did obviously change - many historians (Cho 
>>gwang, HO DonghyOn, and some others) view it now as a "quest for human 
>>rights and religious freedom" rather than "national treason". Many other 
>>things are speedily changing as well: "Patriotic Enlightenment 
>>Movement"'s  "statist" (kukkajuUi-jOk) ideology is being actively 
>>problematized and linked both to the following acceptance of Japanese 
>>colonial ideology and authoritarian courses of post-colonial development. 
>>All these things, in fact, represent gradual "phasing out" of the 
>>nationalistic meta-narrative on the part of very significant sector of 
>>S.Korea's historic community. The strength of nationalistic versions is 
>>partly residual and partly explainable by various political commitments - 
>>but to say that S.Korean historiography as a whole is "nationalistic" now 
>>would be tantamount to saying that "Western scholars are generally 
>>Orientalist and implicitly racist". Both statements are not completely 
>>untrue, but the progressive part of the spectrum gets un/misrepresented.
>>One thing I dare to suggest is: would not it be better, instead of 
>>debating "their" "sins of nationalism", simply try to monitor in this 
>>List what is being published in Korean historical journals? We will get 
>>lots of useful stuff for the classrooms.
>>At 08:37 10.09.2002 +0200, you wrote:
>>>Without intending to go at it ad hominem, I think TN Park's reply to Geri
>>>Ledyard's posting clearly shows that we need to take a closer look at what
>>>exactly historians are saying when they talk about kwago ch'ongsan. An
>>>impression I have had for quite some time now, is that we (the foreign
>>>Korean Studies community in general) are mired in the alleged stranglehold
>>>of nationalist historiography. We somehow fail to see that the acrimonious
>>>tone of the 1980-90s (though still there in some instances), has been
>>>superseded by a less politicized, but all the more path breaking
>>>historiography. Over the enduring drone of nationalist rhetoric, we seem to
>>>have overlooked these inspiring developments.
>>>Rather than to work ourselves into a temper about the term, it would be
>>>worthwhile to wait and see how the authors of the Korea Journal articles go
>>>about 'atoning for the past.' Maybe we can then have a less speculative and
>>>more informed debate.
>>>Koen De Ceuster
>>>Forgive me if I make a point that has already been made, but the
>>>Martin/Chang explanation ("burying one's past [call it quits with], and
>>>turing over a new leaf") seems to fit with the idea as I have heard it used
>>>in public here. Specifically, during the mid-1990s, when then-President Kim
>>>Youngsam was explaining why he thought the nation would be better off
>>>destroying the former Colonial Capitol (1926-1945) which later was used as
>>>the ROK Capitol (from 1948 to the mid-1980s) and the National Museum (from
>>>the late 1980s to the mid-1990s).
>>>I am working from memory here, but I believe the Korea Herald and Korea
>>>Times both translated the President's words by saying that razing the
>>>building was necessary to "cleanse Korea's history" and to "set its history
>>>right." Even if the term he used was not *kwag?ch'?gsan* exactly, it
>>>appears that such sentiments are shared with that term as it is used
>>>As some have suggested here, the *kwag?ch'?gsan* concept may originally
>>>have been at the heart of a noble effort to allow to be heard dissenting
>>>voices that had formerly been suppressed. However, in politics and in the
>>>press, and thus in public discourse, the concept has taken on an ugly form
>>>that seems more agenda-driven than anything else: selective focus or neglect
>>>on points that will support the point-of-view of the group.
>>>The term may not be a neologism in the sense of the word's creation, but
>>>this new usage itself may be neologistic. Various "anti-isms" (e.g.,
>>>anti-Japanesism, anti-Americanism, anti-capitalism, anti-leftism, and other
>>>anti-xxx sentiments) are not just being appropriated by political and social
>>>leaders, but are also being exacerbated by them and their groups to achieve
>>>short-term ends. The fact that Lee Hoi-chang's father's alleged pro-Japanese
>>>activities are an issue in the current presidential campaign, despite having
>>>occurred some six decades ago, is an example of the power of such anti-isms.
>>>Early in this discussion, I believe someone had suggested that the way the
>>>term is being applied is not aimed at resolving these problems. I would
>>>wholeheartedly agree. Resolving the problems would be antithetical to the
>>>interests of those who are promoting certain anti-isms, which is to augment
>>>support for them in the political and/or social arenas.
>>>A Korean-born professor of mine at Yonsei University once remarked in a
>>>Modern Korean History class that there were many things he can tell us about
>>>Korean-Japanese relations in our English-language courses that he "would
>>>never say" in his Korean-language lectures for fear of his job. His own
>>>explanation was one that paralleled my own experience: by deviating from the
>>>sanitized "history" that Koreans have learned in school -- even at the
>>>university level -- he risked criticism that could go so far as the
>>>demanding of his removal. We have had similar experiences in public radio
>>>program content development.
>>>This, I contend, is part of the result of such efforts to "cleanse" or "make
>>>right" Korean history. It is a potentially dangerous trend that will result
>>>in a squelching of dialogue, not the promotion of it.
>>Vladimir Tikhonov,
>>Department of East European and Oriental Studies,
>>Faculty of Arts,
>>University of Oslo,
>>P.b. 1030, Blindern, 0315, Oslo, Norway.
>>Fax: 47-22854140; Tel: 47-22857118
>Sun Joo Kim
>Assistant Professor of Korean History
>EALC, Harvard University
>2 Divinity Ave.
>Cambridge, MA 02138
>Tel: 617)495-7539
>Fax: 617)496-6040
>e-mail: sjkim at fas.harvard.edu
>Send and receive Hotmail on your mobile device: http://mobile.msn.com

Vladimir Tikhonov,
Department of East European and Oriental Studies,
Faculty of Arts,
University of Oslo,
P.b. 1030, Blindern, 0315, Oslo, Norway.
Fax: 47-22854140; Tel: 47-22857118

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