10/6: Hae Uk Ko

Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences

“Looking at Mirror Images: The Korean Plight to Find its Place in a New World”

Time: Thursday, October 6, 4:00-5:30pm CT

Location: Social Science Research Building Franklin Room

★Co-Sponsored by East Asia: Transregional Histories (EATRH) workshop★

Please note the unusual meeting time and location!

Abstract: “Looking at Mirror Images” departs from the practice of studying Korea’s relationship with China, its past suzerain; Japan, its colonizer; and America, the leader of the alliance; and analyzes Korea’s imitation of Belgium and perception of Ireland to understand its struggle against colonization. “Looking at Mirror Images” first seeks to explain how Koreans came to emulate Belgium when they were forcibly incorporated into an imperial world order. As the Sino-sphere became dishevelled with the intrusion of the West in the 19th century, Koreans sought to find their place in unfamiliar waters. Korean leaders’ attempt to harness international law to pursue a Belgian model of neutrality was eventually futile. Once colonized, both Koreans and Japanese looked at different phases of British Ireland as role models that Korea should aim to become like. An analysis of the Korean project of emulating Belgian neutrality prior to colonization and Korean thoughts on Ireland, both the Ireland that Unionists envisioned and the Ireland that the Sinn Fein envisioned, after colonization, will offer insights into Korea’s unsuccessful struggle to maintain sovereignty.

Presenter: Hae Uk. Ko is a graduate of the MAPSS program at the University of Chicago. His thesis examined the role that perception of the unfamiliar played in decision-making in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century.

Respondent: Graeme R. Reynolds is a cultural and intellectual historian of early modern Korea with interests in the production and circulation of knowledge, the history of the book, and historiography. He is currently working on a book examining the production, circulation, reception of official histories in the Chosŏn dynasty. He holds a Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University.

Elvin Meng

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