[KS] first issue of Korean Histories

Walraven, B.C.A. B.C.A.Walraven at hum.leidenuniv.nl
Mon Jan 4 09:13:59 EST 2010

 Issuing the first volume of Korean Histories

Within the framework of the Leiden University research project "History as Social Process: unconventional historiographies of Korea," which is supported by the Academy of Korean Studies with a Korean Studies Institutional Grant, the first issue has just been published of a peer-reviewed online journal: Korean Histories: www.koreanhistories.org <outbind://16/www.koreanhistories.org> 

The issue contains four articles:

Cheju 1901 <http://www.koreanhistories.org/files/KH1_1%20Walraven-Cheju1901.pdf> : Records, memories and current concerns <http://www.koreanhistories.org/files/KH1_1%20Walraven-Cheju1901.pdf>   Boudewijn Walraven

Korea's forgotten war: Appropriating and subverting the Vietnam War in Korean popular imaginings <http://www.koreanhistories.org/files/KH1_1%20Breuker-Korea's%20Forgotten%20War.pdf>  

Remco E. Breuker


The failings of success: The problem of religious meaning in modern Korean historiography <http://www.koreanhistories.org/files/KH1_1%20Wells-Failings%20of%20Success.pdf>  

Kenneth M. Wells


History as colonial storytelling: Yi Kwangsu's historical novels on fifteenth-century Chosŏn history <http://www.koreanhistories.org/files/KH1_1%20Lee-History%20as%20Colonial%20Storytelling.pdf>   Jung-Shim Lee

The reasoning that is behind the creation of this biannual peer-reviewed journal Korean Histories has proceeded from a simple idea: the creation of history in the sense of representations of the past is a social activity that involves many more individuals and groups than the community (or rather communities) of professional historians and, it will be superfluous to say, long predates the 19th-century emergence of historiography as an academic specialism in the context of the rise of modern nation-states.  The involvement of other actors becomes even more obvious if one considers the many ways history actually functions in human societies.  Because representations of the past in some form or another are judged to be socially relevant, historical representations are not the exclusive preserve of the professionals but also are produced by novelists, film makers, painters, sculptors, journalists, politicians and members of the general public, and they are part and parcel of the discourse of many social and political debates.  It is probably as difficult to imagine a society that does not in some way represents its past(s) as it is to imagine a society without any form of religion, even if one may doubt the reality of what is represented or of the objects of worship.

Historical representation, in whatever form, is a social fact that cannot be ignored, and certainly not in Korea, present or past.  Korean Histories does not a priori take sides in the debate on the question to which degree the representation of history can be an adequate reflection of the past, leaving judgment in this regard to its contributors, but invites articles that introduce new perspectives by striving to make sense of the Korean past with a sensitivity to the richness and variety of both sources and interpretations, conscious of the social embeddedness of historiography. Approaches may be either historical or anthropological. Although “Korea” (in itself a historically and socially constituted concept) is the focus, Korean Histories also welcomes contributions about regional and transnational issues that have a bearing on Korea, as well as papers that suggest methodological alternatives or critically question the general approach of the journal.  Apart from regular articles, research notes will be published, as well as reviews of books that are relevant to the intentions of the journal. The format of the e-journal will also allow Korean Histories to make sources available that are in the public domain, but not easily accessible otherwise. The intention is to publish these sources with brief introductions that suggest the significance they may have.

The editors welcome submissions and feed-back (rebreuker at koreanhistories.org <mailto:rebreuker at koreanhistories.org> ). 


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