Korea in the Middle: Korean Studies and Area Studies : Essays in Honour of Boudewijn Walraven

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Amsterdam University Press, 2007 - Korea - 380 pages
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Throughout history the Korean peninsula has functioned as a crossroads of interaction with other states and cultures. In particular, its meaningful and significant negotiations with Sinitic and Manchurian civilisations have generated original perspectives on the human condition. Until recently the study of Korea , however, has been overlooked or was regarded as merely an academic subdivision of the study of China and Japan . It is only in the past few decades that Korean studies have been recognised as an independent, academic field. This development has found concrete expression in the establishment of various, worldwide, departments of Korean Studies. Korean Studies, however, have also benefited from its past embeddedness in other disciplines or regions. Specialists in Korean Studies often find themselves in a position whereby they have to be conversant with the particularities of neighbouring fields of specialisations, and where they have to take into account different disciplinary approaches. This is regarded as one of the strengths of Korean Studies rather than a liability. The collection of essays in this volume is a celebration of the diversity of Korean Studies as an area study. The subjects chosen and contributors' backgrounds reveal at the same time the diversity within Korean Studies, the variety of perspectives, its fundamental interdisciplinarily nature, and the overlap that is possible with neighbouring areas of study. Despite the apparent disparity in the questions pursued in various contexts, what unites all the contributions is an appreciation of the historical and contemporary role of Korea as a definable community that is quite literally positioned in the middle of East Asian historical, political, economic, and other social transactions.

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About the author (2007)

Remco Breuker obtained his Ph.D. on Kory§ history from Leiden University and is presently a research fellow at the Division of Pacific and Asian History, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies of the Australian National University.

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