[KS] Re: Introductory reading on Confucianism

Joo Hang Cha joohang at telus.net
Sat Jan 24 12:40:22 EST 2004

To bring a student's point of view on this subject, I personally don't
think I'll find a textbook on Korean Confucianism very useful. I'd still
prefer the way I studied Confucianism, which was gradually acquired by
taking courses on history, history of thought and literature of China
and Korea. A textbook would be nice but it would be quite an ambitious
project which covers both China and Korea, and perhaps even includes a
comparison to its adoption and development in Japan and Vietnam.

At first I got the impression that the reading was to be assigned for an
undergraduate course on Korean Confucianism (I would love to attend the
college which offers such a course.) but looks like you intend to
introduce Confucianism to a course on Korean history. In that case, I
don't see any problem in explaining the historical context since
Confucianism makes little sense otherwise. Perhaps you can assign a
reading package of articles and book chapters. For "early" Korean
Confucianism (= pre-17th century?) I suggest:

The chapter "Ideology of Reform" in John Duncan's _Origins of the Choson
Dynasty_. (Also published earlier as "Confucianism in the late Koryo and
early Choson" in Korean Studies vol.18.)

Martina Deuchler's _Confucian Transformation of Korea_.

Select chapters from _Rise of Neo-Confucianism in Korea_ such as Michael
Kalton's article on Kwon Kun or Chung Chai-sik's article on Chong Tojon.


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