Korean Studies, vol. 25, no. 2 (2001)


The Parliament of Histories: New Religions, Collective Historiography, and the Nation
Boudewijn Walraven, 157

Historiography is a social process, and professional historians are not the only ones to create images of the past. Therefore an understanding of what history means within a particular society requires an examination of the views of nonprofessional contributors to the historical debate. In this article, the problem of collective historical representation and identity construction at different levels of social organization is mainly illustrated with the recent historiography of religious groups that base themselves on the teachings of Chûngsan Kang Il-sun (1871–1909). In the conclusions, it is argued that a focus on national history, shared by such groups, is not necessarily repressive but offers them an opportunity to carve out a collective identity.

The Nation, the World, and the Dissolution of the Shin’ganhoe: Nationalist Historiography in South Korea
Kenneth M. Wells, 179

This article forwards an interpretation of the Korean united front movement of 1927–1931, the Shin’ganhoe, that might offer some insight into the dynamics of the movement, especially of its dissolution, and that complements the nationalist accounts of it. That the Shin’ganhoe was created under the conditions of Japan’s colonial rule gave the movement its character as a part of the resistance against that rule. But I propose that the movement is not fully explained by that role and that it took on a logic or dynamic of its own that led toward its dissolution in some sense independently of its being a nationalist resistance organization. I then relate the discussion to recent developments in South Korean nationalist historiography, paying particular attention to attempts to “localize” Korean national imperatives by linking them with theories of a global or world system. I conclude with the observation that the linkages made between local and global phenomena, related as they are to the severe internecine competition on the Korean peninsula over the past five decades, appear to be a restatement of central demands of the nationalist position. As such they do not chart a clear route beyond the nationalist paradigm and may suffer from intractable difficulties similar to those that plagued the Shin’ganhoe movement.

The Nation Exorcised: The Historiography of Collaboration in South Korea
Koen De Ceuster, 207

The cloak of silence surrounding collaboration in South Korea was lifted in the 1980s as part of the wider political struggle for democratization. Initially, the discourse on collaboration was caught in the same nationalist paradigm as the state-sanctioned narrative it sought to undermine. By the late 1990s, with democracy firmly established and a new, less-politicized generation of historians entering the field, the historiography of collaboration moved beyond facile incriminations and judgments toward a more comprehensive understanding of this delicate issue. Historical understanding does not, however, resolve the enduring demand for (moral) justice.

The Aesthetic Pasts of Space (1960-1990)
Alain Delissen, 243

Imagined communities and narratives of identity rely heavily on history. Studies of South Korea, however, focus exclusively on academic historiography. Other agencies that link formal history with public culture—such as Konggan, the group created by architect Kim Sugûn that centered on an influential magazine—need proper recounting. With popularization and cultural unification in view, Konggan strove to elaborate Korean identity through aesthetics and aesthetics through history. To take this rhetoric of the past seriously and identify its shifting tropes or mnemonic sites might also refine a cultural history of the Republic of Korea that was not entirely determined by clashing official and dissident cultures.

Affliction and Opportunity: Korean Literature in Diaspora, A Brief Overview
Kichung Kim, 261

Shigaku zasshi, the leading history journal in Japan, devotes its fifth issue every year to historiography reviews of scholarship published in Japan over the previous year on various national and regional histories. The reviews for Korean history are written by specialists and introduce and direct readers to publications in many fields, including archaeology, economic history, and social history.


Judith Cherry, Korean Multinationals in Europe
reviewed by Chung H. Lee, 277

Nicholas Eberstadt and Richard Ellings, ed., Korea’s Future and the Great Powers
reviewed by Timothy C. Lim, 279

Frank Hoffmann, comp., The Harvard Korean Studies Bibliography
reviewed by Kyungmi Chun, 285

Park Sungjong, Aboji, nan nuguyeyo
reviewed by Kichung Kim, 288