[KS] Call for Papers: Korea's Place in the World

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Wed Mar 28 13:42:40 EDT 2012

>>  Korea¹s Place in the World: Now and Twenty Years Hence <<

   Twenty years hence, though it may hap
   That I be call'd to take a nap
   In a cool cell where thunder-clap
       Was never heard,

Don't know about you, but to me the title and 
description of the workshop are auto-generating 
some questions about fortunetelling and other 
Asian studies methods that I can't allow myself 
to just be pre-populated with the usual academia 
soap replies.

1. 1968 is over, 1979 is over, the _Future Is 
Now_ (Nina Hagen, 1980). Ask YouTube or Google, 
shall you have missed it and have any serious 
doubts. Past, present, future, it is all 
accessible on the Net. Hence the questions that 
my ThinkPad generates and asks me when I enter 
the data to the cloud: what "future" is being 
referenced to in that "expertise to the future 
(...) urbanisation, demography, and the digital 
revolution"? Are we to believe that urbanization 
and the digital revolution have not happened in 
Korea yet? Twenty years hence? Isn't it then 
maybe a Korean baby boomers immigrate to 
Indonesia for retirement story? Urbanization, 
hasn't that already ended in Korea now? Look at 
what architects are up to nowadays (not twenty 
years hence). Urban chicken cage architecture is 
out, corporate culture such as "public art" in 
cityscapes is long being considered a 1990s joke, 
back to single houses is on the go, back to 
nature, back to suburbia ... and very soon office 
workers will also have gotten the message, and if 
not, then the decline of their apartment pricing 
will sure tell them so.

2. Another big question is the 
consider-Korea-as-a-case-study approach: OTHER 
than Europe (Britain, France, Germany, maybe even 
Greece, for now ... to remind us what Europe 
is)--all these countries have seen less of a 
"digital revolution" than Korea has (or the U.S., 
for that matter). Less than one percent of high 
school and university students in a country like 
Germany can even do the most basic coding; this 
is still left to "the specialist"--as is Korean 
studies or cooking or watering plants or making 
jokes. The cloud tells me that it finds this 
logic confusing. Everything is networked and 
connected, all knowledge is shared knowledge, 
shared storage even, but the logic of how to 
explain existing reality, EVEN projected future 
reality, is then done from the perspective and in 
the language of Walter Savage Landor. We had all 
those "case studies" in the late 1960s to early 
1980s, as Google kindly tells me, predicting how 
South Korea, Brazil, Chile etc. would "develop" 
fast, and then Korea did and Brazil not, and then 
Brazil did anyway, but not as predicted, etc. It 
is not Korea that missed out on the "digital 
revolution," and in Europe we might seriously 
reconsider what our own position, interest, and 
level of knowledge is and can be--and going from 
there we might hopefully come up with some 
approaches that reflect at least some hints of 
all the structural changes of the past twenty, 
thirty years.

Good success!

>Korea¹s Place in the World: Now and Twenty Years Hence
>What is the future for the Korean peninsula, 
>north and south, in the world of 2032? What are 
>some major drivers of change that will create 
>the Korea of 2032? What are possible scenarios 
>for urbanisation and Korean cities? How will an 
>immersive digital environment affect Korean 
>culture and economy? What will the grey shift 
>mean for Korean society and infrastructure in 
>The British Association for Korean Studies will 
>hold a Workshop at the School of Oriental and 
>African Studies, University of London, on 17 
>November 2012 on the topic of ŒKorea¹s Place in 
>the World: Now and Twenty Years Hence¹. We 
>invite paper presenters to turn their expertise 
>to the future, particularly in the fields of 
>urbanisation, demography, and the digital 
>revolution, and consider Korea as a case study. 
>We will favour proposals that address the impact 
>of technology on society and social change, and 
>papers from post-graduate students are 
>particularly welcome. All full papers submitted 
>will be considered for publication in the Papers 
>of the British Association for Korean Studies, 
>after a peer review.
>Deadline for abstracts: 1 September 2012
>Deadline for full papers: 1 November 2012 (for 
>those with an intention towards publication in 
>BAKS Papers)
>Contact for Workshop:
>Dr. Owen Miller
>SOAS, University of London

Frank Hoffmann

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