University of Cambridge > > Wolfson College Lunchtime Seminar Series - Wednesdays of Full Term > Britain, Modernity and the Change of Historical Consciousness in Korea, 1960-2000

Britain, Modernity and the Change of Historical Consciousness in Korea, 1960-2000

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  • UserProfessor Young-Suk Lee, Professor of Gwangju University and Visiting fellow at Wolfson College
  • ClockWednesday 06 February 2013, 13:00-14:00
  • HouseCombination Room, Wolfson College.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Elizabeth C Blake.

In this lunch-time seminar, I would like to survey the research trends of British history in Korea. The late 1970s is a turning point in the studies of British history in Korea, because historians’ focus was rapidly changed from the Tudor-Stuart period to the nineteenth century. While old scholars were interested in the English Revolution or the formation of the modern state, younger historians began to focus on industrialization, labour movement or socialism in nineteenth-century Britain.

What does this change mean? It is true that historians are apt to be influenced by the political and social situations of their country. British historians in Korea have tried to interpret British history from the perspective of the Korean situation. Especially they seem to have had a kind of the ‘modern complex’. Here, the complex means a belief or a prejudice that Korea has not yet reached to modern society completely, and that the Korean people should find a desirable path towards modernization by studying the historical processes of West European countries.

After successful modernization, the young historians who belong to the third generation of British studies in Korea seem to overcome the complex. Nowadays they are criticizing Euro-centrism inherent in Western historiography. Of course, it would be somewhat difficult for them to find a new interpretation of world history as an alternative of the existing historiography based upon Euro-centrism.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Lunchtime Seminar Series - Wednesdays of Full Term series.

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