[KS] Korean Studies in Oxford

Youngsook Pak yp at soas.ac.uk
Tue Apr 12 10:06:19 EDT 2005

In almost every university in Great Britain, Korean Studies is treated in
this manner. It takes years to build up a programme which can draw a
considerable number of students, especially high-fee paying overseas
students, but British universities generally take the view that Korean
Studies is not viable unless the Korean government provides funding
continuously. Why does the Korean government not think in the first place
to make a detailed plan and ensure mutual agreement that after a certain
period of funding the said university has the obligation to take over and
fund the programme? This would be much better than endlessly pouring money
to an institution which can simply call an end to the programme at any
time. Oxford has received KF funding for a considerable number of years.
Another example is that of the V & A, where a Korean Gallery was
established in the early 1990s, but in the meantime the post of Korean
curator has been eliminated, so now there is no curator to ensure that the
display is kept up to date and attractive to visitors.

Youngsook Pak
School of Oriental and African Studies
University of London

>The Korea Times editorial on April 8 about Korean Studies Overseas
>included the sentence: "Last month,
>Oxford University announced that it decided to close its Korean studies
>program from June 2007 due to a
>lack of funding." The editorial goes on to deplore this and question how
>the Korean government could allow
>such a thing to happen. This was the first I had heard of this decision,
>but it seems to me that we should
>share that sense of outrage if indeed it is the case that a refusal from
>the Korean side to continue to
>provide funding is to blame. Are there other programs which might equally
>be subject to similar cutbacks? I
>think that this List might have some opinions about this. The editorial
>seemed to suggest that there might
>still be hope of saving the program if funding were found . . .? But it
>would be good to know what the
>Korean government thinks it is doing to support Korean studies when this
>kind of thing happens.
>(Professor) An Sonjae (Brother Anthony)
>Sogang University, Seoul, Korea

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