Vortragsreihe der Koreanistik

Prof. Dr. In-Jin Yoon (Korea University)

Will Korea Become an Immigration Country and a Multicultural Society? - Trends in International Migration and Challenges to a Multicultural Society

Wednesday, July 19th, 2023, 18:00 c.t., Wilhelmstraße 133, Room 30

In-Jin Yoon is professor of Sociology at Korea University and currently a visiting professor of Korean Studies at the University of Tübingen. He now serves as the director of the Asian Migration Research Center, Korea University. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago and taught at the Asian American Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara. His research interests include social psychology, international migration, immigration policy, and overseas Koreans and Korean diaspora. He is the author of books such as Koreatowns and Korean communities Abroad (2019), and The Next Generation of Overseas Koreans and Mainstreaming (2019).

Large-scale international migration to Korea began in the early 1990s and continued to increase until recently. The population of an immigrant background accounts for 4% of the total population, rapidly transforming Korea into an immigrant society. The largest group of immigrants is migrant workers, followed by marriage migrants and international students. Although Korea is changing demographically into a multi-ethnic society, Korean laws and systems have not changed in the direction of accepting immigrants as equal members of society. And many Koreans still insist on the idea of a single ethnicity and a single culture, so they are unwilling to recognize migrants as actual members of society and live together. It is inevitable and only a matter of time for Korea to become an immigration country and a multicultural society. What we need to ask at this point is not whether Korea will become an immigration country or a multicultural society, but how to make it a more desirable and well-functioning immigration country where cultural diversity is respected and recognized as an asset.

Prof. em. Dr. Hagen Koo (University of Hawaii)

Education Anxiety in Korea Today

Wednesday, July 12th, 2023, 18:00 c.t., Wilhelmstraße 133, Room 30

Hagen Koo is emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Born in Korea, he received his BA in Korea and worked as a journalist briefly before going to America, where he received his Ph.D. at Northwestern University. He published extensively on economic development and social change in South Korea. His major work includes Korean Workers: The Culture and Politics of Class Formation (Cornell University Press, 2001), and Privilege and Anxiety: The Korean Middle Class in the Global Era (Cornell University Press, 2022). Since his retirement in 2017, he spends more time in Korea writing about contemporary issues of Korean society.

Koreans suffer a tremendous amount of anxiety over education today. They spend more money for private education than other countries do, children spend an unbelievable amount of time for study and suffer a persistent fatigue, and education-related disputes often lead to a major political change. This lecture is to explain what was the historical background, how it has evolved, and what might be its future trajectory.

Dr. Martin Minarik (Georg-August University Göttingen)

Kukki T'aegwŏndo: Education, Culture, and Politics. How Korean Studies might benefit from Research on Korean Martial Arts

Wednesday, July 5th, 2023, 18:00 c.t., Wilhelmstraße 133, Room 30

Martin Minarik is currently a faculty member at the Institute of Sports Science at the Georg-August University Göttingen. He studied Philosophy, History, as well as Theater-, Film-, and Media Studies in Bielefeld/Germany and Vienna/Austria with additional courses in East Asian Studies. Subsequently, he pursued his doctoral degree at the Institute for Human Movement Science at Hamburg University. His dissertation was published in 2022 under the title “Im Gleichschritt des Dao. Zur Performativität von Normen, Werten und Idealen in der Taekwondo Praxis in Südkorea“. He actively practices Taekkyon and Taekwondo, where he currently holds a 4th Dan issued by the Kukkiwon/World Taekwondo Headquarter.

Taekwondo - designated national sport of Korea. Despite being viewed as the embodiment of the national spirit by many Koreans and non-Koreans alike, and often referred to as "Korea's gift to the world", Taekwondo remains underrepresented as a research topic in Korean Studies. The aim of this presentation is to introduce Taekwondo as a fertile research field in Korean Studies, focusing on areas such as physical culture, Korean nation-making, Korean cultural policies, and the global rise of Hallyu. To achieve this, the presentation will explore two main topics: Firstly, Taekwondo's cultural history after the Second World War and its relationship to cultural-political agendas until the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Secondly, the current situation of Taekwondo in South Korea and around the world, as well as its relationship to contemporary cultural products and policies of South Korea.

Prof. Dr. Young Soo Yook (Chungang University)

Historiography and the Remaking of North Korea’s Ideology from the Cold-War Era to the Age of Globalization: Comparatively Interpreting the First & Revised Edition of Dictionary of History (ryeoksa sajeon)

Wednesday, June 21th, 2023, 18:00 c.t., Wilhelmstraße 133, Room 30

Young Soo Yook is a History Professor at the Chungang University. He graduated from Hanyang University in English Literature and from University of Colorado Springs in the US in History. He obtained a Master’s and Doctoral degree in Modern European Intellectual History at the University of Washington (Seattle). His focus lies on exploring the origin and the topic of Historical Characteristics of Modern History concentrating on Post-Colonialism and Transnationalism. He taught in different Universities such as Leiden University in the Netherlands, Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. He is the author of the book “Architects of Modern European System: Saint-Simonism in the Remaking, 1800~1870” published in Korean last year and many more articles.

The lecture aims to understand and reappraise the DPRK (North Korea) ruling class ‘mentalité’ from 1971 to 2000 by comparatively interpreting the original Dictionary of History (1971, DH1) and its revised version (DH2) published almost 30 years later. At the peak of the Cold War Era, historical materialism and anti-Americanism are two indisputable backbones and guiding ideologies of the dictionary. By highlighting and often exaggerating the perceived threat and hostility of Western imperialism, the DH1 has contributed to the endorsement and propagation of the ideological legitimacy of the Juche-Idea, that is, of the indispensability of self-reliance vis-a-vis foreign powers. However, the DH2 embodies how desperately and earnestly North Korea has struggled to remake its own national identity in order to cope with a series of crisis after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the death of Kim Il Sung in 1994. Are the two core ideologies socialism founded on Marxism-Leninism and strong antipathy to U.S. imperialism, which are penetrating the first edition, still unconditionally respected in the the revised edition? Does the revised edition indicate an important ideological transformation taking place among the ruling elite of North Korea? And would rewriting history guarantee a safer and more promising future for the North Korean people in the age of globalization? These are questions that Prof. Dr. Young Soo Yook will answer in the lecture.

Nakyeon Lee, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea

Suggestions for Peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia
한반도와 동북아시아의 평화를 위한 제언 (in English)

Wednesday, June 7th, 2023, 18:00 c.t., Neue Aula, Großer Senatssaal

Nakyon Lee is a former prime minister of the Republic of Korea serving during the Moon Jae-in Administration. He
graduated from Seoul National University with a degree in law and became a journalist at Dong-a Ilbo. After 21 years as a journalist, he entered politics and served five terms as a member of the National Assembly. President Moon nominated him as prime minister in 2017. In 2020 he was elected as the chairperson of the Democratic Party of Korea. As prime minister, he was responsible for domestic issues, including the safety of the citizens and society. He was a member of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee at the National Assembly, in which he worked towards a peaceful inter-Korean relationship.

In this lecture, former Prime Minister Nakyon Lee will summarize the reasons why nuclear negotiations with North Korea have failed. He will suggest realistic and pragmatic approaches for the US and all relevant parties to move toward denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Prof. Dr. Helen Kim (University of Leeds)

'My life would have been happier in Germany’: Korean
guestworker nurses’ journeys to Germany and to the US

Wednesday, May 24th, 2023, 18:00 c.t., Wilhelmstraße 133, Room 30

This presentation highlights the little-known experiences and memories of Korean ‘guestworker’ nurses who ‘twice migrated’; first moving to Germany and then migrating to the US in the 1960s and 1970s. Based on extended, repeat interviews with four former nurses, their stories underscore how little is known about this wave of Korean migrant women, specifically, and why they decided to migrate, where, and how. The findings highlight how these women were agents of their own mobility, seeing the opportunity to migrate to Germany as the means by which to acquire independence and autonomy as young women. Further, their stories showed how twice migration to the US was not
always experienced as a positive and more advantageous destination, particularly for the women.

Helen Kim is an Associate Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on diaspora, urban migration, and ‘race’ in the UK, US, and Germany. Her current research project is on the Korean ‘guestworker’ diaspora who have settled in Germany, US, and Canada. The project explores diasporic and postcolonial memory, ‘race-making’, and twice migration.

Prof. em. Dr. phil. Manfred Heinemann (Universität Hannover)

Nordkorea und die Diplomatie der DDR: Methodik und Ergebnisse der Erschließung überlieferter Archivalien am Beispiel des Studenten- und Wissenschaftsaustausches

Wednesday May 17th, 2023, 18:00 c.t., Wilhelmstraße 133, Room 30

Die Vereinigung der beiden Deutschlands hatte für den Historiker ein außergewöhnliches Nebenergebnis: Sämtliche Hinterlassenschaften der DDR-Behörden und gesellschaftlichen Organisationen wurden für die Forschung zugänglich. Zu benutzen waren die im Politischen Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes, die in der Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und der Massenorganisationen (SAPMO) und die im Bundesarchiv in Berlin-Lichterfelde verwahrten Archivalien der staatlichen DDR-Behörden. Für die zeitgeschichtliche Forschung bot dieses die einmalige Chance, Themen zur Aufarbeitung der DDR bis 1990 umzusetzen. Methodologisch befand man sich schon allein aus der Menge der Dokumente im Bereich von „big data“. Da jedes einzelne Dokument in Form eines Regestes zu erfassen war, konnte zunächst eine Informationsbasis in der Tradition dieser an Dokumenten aus dem Mittelalter entwickelten Beschreibung geschaffen werden. Die Anforderungen eines Kurzregestes, das Aussteller, Empfänger, Ort und Datum eines Dokuments sowie eine kurze Zusammenfassung des Inhalts enthält, wurden dann zu einem Vollregest erweitert, wenn eine ausführlichere Beschreibung des Inhalts plus der Nennung aller genannter Namen sinnvoll erschien. Mit der nachfolgend nach Datum geordneten Meta-Datei dieser Regesten konnten dann chronologisch präzise kulturpolitische Themen am Beispiel des Studenten- und Wissenschaftsaustausches ausgewertet werden. Als „Beifang“ ergab sich eine Vielzahl von Befunden, die in der Spiegelung der DDR-Botschaft wie des DDR Apparats Auskünfte zu Sachverhalten ergaben, die erstaunlich viele Bereiche des diplomatischen Lebens und der Arbeits- und Wissensbasis von DDR und Nordkorea erläuterten.

Studium 1962-1971 an den Universitäten Münster, Hamburg und Bochum in den Fächern Geschichte, Germanistik, Sozialpsychologie, Erziehungswissenschaft, Sozialwissenschaft. Promotion 1971 in der Abteilung für Geschichtswissenschaft der Ruhr- Universität Bochum. 1979 Professur für „Allgemeine Erziehungswissenschaften“ an der Universität Hannover. 2008 Eintritt in den Ruhestand.

Dr. Derek Kramer (University of Cambridge)

Blackout Histories: Network Failures and Atomic Futures in North and South Korea, 1945-1950

Wednesday May 10th, 2023, 18:00 c.t., Wilhelmstraße 133, Room 30

In the spring of 1948, the lights in Seoul went out. The blackout marked the postcolonial collapse of the peninsular electric network, a vast apparatus of production and consumption that only years before had rivaled that of the Japanese metropole itself in terms of output. However, with much of the power generated in North Korea, national division meant systemic collapse. Writing at the cusp of a new atomic age, the citizens of 1948 Seoul look to the future in the dark. Borrowing from recent trends in the history of energy and infrastructure, this talk explores the years leading up to and following the collapse of the postcolonial Korean power network. Bracketed by the integrated processes of Cold War deimperialization and division, the breakdown of the Korean power system is taken up as an instance of rupture that encouraged an outpouring of thought on energy, technology, and historic transformation. Of particular interest in this study are the ways that the postcolonial atrophy of infrastructure coincided with a broader culture of techno-anticipation linked to a new atomic age. In popular science texts of the day, energy quickly emerged as a unifying feature in discussions of social, economic, and physiological change. Placed within the context of the power-systems material breakdown, the lecture attends to how Korean writers turned to the concept of energy to develop stagist historical narratives of development that reduced the politics of production to the aggregation of power.

Derek Kramer is a Li Foundation Fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Needham Research Institute. He received his degree in East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto in 2021. Derek’s work focuses broadly on the Cold War mobilization of technoscientific periodization schemes in postcolonial settings. In line with this agenda, his current project examines the emergence of an atomic age in the newly established states of the Korean Peninsula. Portions of his research have appeared in positions: asia critique, the International Review of Social History, and is forthcoming in the Journal of Asian Studies.

Prof. Dr. Nuri Kim (University of Cambridge)

The Lies that Bind:
Making and Contesting Family Histories in post-1945 Korea

Wednesday April 19, 2023, 18:00 c.t., Wilhelmstraße 133, Room 30

There are few histories that are more loaded with misremembrance and misinformation than family history. This is especially so in Korea where the compilation of family genealogies has been an important practice for centuries. Starting out as a tool of the elite to assert social distinction, the invention of family histories has become widespread among the entire population in modern times. While this may have contributed to an imaginary sense of egalitarianism, the many different narratives have also led to conflicts within families, between different families, between families and the academic community as well as the public. In this talk, we will examine how these contests have played out in post-1945 Korea as families have continued to function as significant producers of historical knowledge, providing an example of the epistemological conflicts that shape our present day.

Prof. Dr. Nuri Kim is Assistant Professor in Korean Studies at the University of Cambridge. As historian of modern Korea he is particularly interested in knowledge production, historiography, and new religious movements.