[KS] women ph.d.'s in korean history

karen palmer karen_palmer01 at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 17 18:36:34 EST 2005

Dear Mark,
While women are more broadly included in Korean studies in the fields of language and literature, it is my experience as well that women are directed more towards these fields and that male students are more likely to be encouraged to study history, which in turn is considered to be more definitive in creating a historical framework of human experience. While women may be "included" in such a sense, there seems to be no particular rationale for the gender imbalance in the creation of new knowledge regarding historical frameworks. Instead, there is possible implication that women are "relegated" to the fields of language and literature.

Mark Arlen Peterson <mark_peterson at byu.edu> wrote:
Greetings all, 

Concerning Ms. Palmers note:

If we look at the question of gender balance in Korean Studies -- more broadly than Korean history -- it looks a little better, well, .... in some ways. It's certainly more complex. 

First, in regard to history, Martina Deuchler has retired but is still working and writing. The Korean history positions at Harvard (Kim Sun Joo, as mentioned) and at UCLA and the University of Utah are all held by UW female PhD. Harvard has given PhD's in history to Susan Shin and Sherry McCullough as well as Martina Deuchler. Hesung Koh has worked in history, but I'm not sure what her PhD was in. Law? Legal history? Anthropology? Pae Hyungil at UC Santa Barbara has a PhD in history/archaeology from Harvard. At at Columbia, we must cite ChaHyun Kim-Haboush as a major figure at a major institution.

If we look at language teaching, the opposite imbalance is obvious -- more females. At AATK meetings (American Assocation of Teachers of Korean) there are very very few male teachers. Linguistics PhD's go disproportionately to females, it appears, with major positions at George Washington and UCLA held by women.

Political Science is really lopsided on the male side. I think there is only one practicing female PhD in political science. Here there may be grounds for complaining, but maybe not in history.

Anthropology has more females, Laurel Kendall, Linda Lewis, and if we include ethnomusicology, Hillary Finchum at ICC in San Francisco, there are perhaps more females in this field than males. ???

Literature is fairly evenly balanced, isn't it?

So, Ms. Palmer, there may be an imbalance in Korean history but the wider field of Korean Studies is closer to the golden mean. At least, that is this observer's cursory conclusion.....

with best regards,
Mark Peterson

-----Original Message-----
From: karen palmer 
To: Korean Studies Discussion List 
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 11:53:16 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [KS] women ph.d.'s in korean history

It appears that the field of Korean history in terms of academic positions held and even in numbers of Ph.D.s granted is heavily male-dominated. Wasn't Kim Sun Joo the first female Ph.D. to come out of the University of Washington, and isn't that a bit of a late start in encouraging female scholars in this area? In my opinion, it's a loss to the overall quality and scope of academic research in history when women's voices are left out. It would be strange to assume there were no women capable of or interested in a particular subfield of history while overall women have come to outnumber men in Ph.D.s granted in humanities and social sciences. Although it involves the study of several languages, Korean history is not rocket science, and women do not generally self-deselect in these areas.

In contrast to the University of Washington, which academic institution has shown a better track record in terms of encouraging female scholars, and what are the numbers and ratios involved?

Karen Palmer
(prospective graduate school applicant in korean history)

caprio wrote:
You should look at Kim Sun Joo's dissertation.
I do not have the title with me but she looked
at the 1812 rebellion and talks about discrimination.
It was completed in 2000 at the University of Washington.

Good Luck,

Mark Caprio
Rikkyo University

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