[KS] Papers on Korean Studies in Europe

James B. Lewis jay.lewis at oriental-institute.oxford.ac.uk
Wed Aug 30 07:36:16 EDT 2006

Dear Fellow Koreanists,

At the Sheffield Conference in 2005, an impromptu forum was convened to 
discuss the current and future problems faced by Korean Studies in 
Europe.  In June 2006, a Workshop was held on the 'Future of Korean 
Studies in Europe', and four good essays were presented:

1) 'Proposals to Secure a Critical Mass of Professorial Positions in 
Korean Studies at Strategic Universities in Europe'
by Marion Eggert, Ruhr-Unversität, Bochum, Germany

2) '(The?) Future for Korean Studies: Finding ways to Cooperate with 
East Asian Studies and Social Sciences and Avoid Marginalization or How 
to Organize Interdisciplinarity'
by Ruediger Frank, University of Vienna

3) 'Proposals for Fostering Future Generations of Korean Studies 
Scholars: The Role of the Korea Foundation Fellowship Programs'
by Carl J. Saxer, Copenhagen Business School

4) 'Proposals to Use Libraries and Museums to the Full to Support and 
Disseminate Korean Studies Throughout Europe'
by Beth McKillop, Keeper, Asian Department Victoria and Albert Museum, 

These can be read at: http://www.akse.uni-kiel.de/  and then follow the 
link to 'Blackboard' and then to 'Future of Korean Studies in Europe'.  
The direct URL is:


I'm afraid that the papers do not directly address the existential angst 
recently raised on this maillist about the raison d'etre of 'Korean 
Studies' or whatever one wishes to call what it is that they do.  The 
papers all assume that the study of Korea should exist for good reasons 
we all already know and need not rehearse, and they get on with the real 
questions of institution building to secure existence.  Those of us who 
work within institutions where insecurities loom large are forced to be 
practical before being philosophic.  That said, Ruediger Frank's paper 
does address the very serious prejudices of 'discipline-based' 
researchers and suggests strategies to deal with them.  Marion Eggert 
and Ruediger do bemoan the 'instant experts' who emerge from the 
chattering class, an irritation felt by anyone who spends years learning 
something.  The papers do not speak of beguilement into becoming a 
propaganda font, but anyone reading this is welcome to join us in Paris 
to debate this matter and others in a public forum.

The authors have joined me in proposing a panel for the AKSE conference 
in April 2007, and we hope that the panel will be accepted.  Even if the 
panel proposal is rejected, we hope to hold a session at some time to 
present the papers to the Conference participants and then engage in a 
general discussion.  We invite you all to read the papers beforehand and 
prepare questions and comments for the Conference.

See you in Paris,
Jay Lewis

Dr. James B. Lewis
University Lecturer in Korean History
Oriental Institute
University of Oxford
Pusey Lane
Oxford,  OX1 2LE
United Kingdom
Email: jay.lewis at orinst.ox.ac.uk
Tel: +44-(0)1865-278200
Fax: +44-(0)1865-278190

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