The George Washington
11th Hahn Moo-Sook
in the Korean Humanities
Education in Korea
23, 2004, 9:30 a.m. 2:30 p.m.
Media and Public Affairs (MPA) Building, Room 309
805 21st Street NW, Washington, DC
HMS Colloquium is supported in part by the Sigur Center
for Asian Studies and the Brady
Admission is free, but reservations are required. For more information and
reservations, please visit http://www.gwu.edu/~eall/special/hms2004.htm or
contact Dr. Young-Key Kim-Renaud, 202-994-7106, firstname.lastname@example.org. Colloquium participants are cordially invited
to attend a reception of an exhibition of ancient Korean pottery immediately
following the Colloquium, at 3:00 p.m., at the Brady Art Gallery on the 2nd
floor of the MPA Building.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
"EDUCATION IN KOREA"
9:30-9:50 Coffee and Pastry
9:50-10:00 Opening Remarks
Kiwon Jang, Korean Embassy
Session I Young-Key Kim-Renaud, Chair
10:00-10:40 "Korean Education: A Philosophical and Historical Perspective"
Michael J. Seth
Session II Richard Grinker, Chair
10:50-11:30 "The Anxious South Korean University Student: Globalization, Human Capital, and Class"
Session III Kirk W. Larsen, Chair
11:40-12:20 "Class Reproduction and Competing Ideologies in Korean K-12 Education"
Jae Hoon Lim
Session IV Kirk W. Larsen, Chair
1:20-1:35 Commentary, Frederick F. Carriere
1:35-1:50 Commentary, Gregg Brazinsky
Michael J. Seth
: South Korean education faces a number of serious
issues. These include: an overemphasis on examination preparation; the
high cost of education especially that of private tutoring and cram
schools; concerns over the creation of inequalities in opportunity as
educational costs rise; overcrowded classrooms; pedagogy based on rote
memorization rather than promoting individual creativity and the
belief that the nation's schooling, especially at the higher education
level is inadequate to meet the requirements of a modernizing nation.
All of these issues are rooted in Korea's history. The society's
pre-modern heritage, usually associated with Confucianism, valued
education both as a means of personal self-cultivation and as a way of
achieving status and power. Its Japanese colonial heritage reinforced
these attitudes while its restrictive policies created a pent-up
social demand for higher levels of schooling. American egalitarian and
pedagogical ideas, the structure of the educational system that was
created in the late 1940s and the social changes that took place in
the mid and late twentieth centuries all widened the gates to the
educational ladder of success. The result of this history has been the
drive by students and their families to enhance or maintain social
status by earning prestige degrees and the problems this has created.
: Drawing on preliminary research on university students
at a range of universities in Seoul and environs, this talk examines
the ways in which today's students are managing their own human
capital formation. I appreciate that changed global circumstances,
including particularly amplified neo-liberalism and the global
educational imperative to "internationalize, have significantly
restructured what it means to be a college student and to develop" as
a young person. Increasingly, youth in South Korea and elsewhere are
becoming their own managers, responsible for fashioning themselves
into productive and creative people who can compete in transforming
global economies. In the case of South Korea, this project is
compounded by important ways in which the "new generation" seeks to
distinguish themselves from earlier generations of college students
who were either narrowly academic or selfless student activists.
Today's college students seek to become creative, experienced (in the
broadest sense of that term), productive, and cosmopolitan. Although
this project poses as democratic and flexible, it is not lost on
students that these are demanding personal demands. This talk
considers specifically how this elaborated self-managed capital
formation varies according to the level of personal and college
capital (i.e., SES background and college ranking). I argue that for
those students at lower-tier universities, the project of personal
capital formation is all the more fraught and lonely.
Jae Hoon Lim
: This paper discusses the role of the Korean K-12
educational system in the reproduction process of social class during
the last two decades and analyzes how current educational debates
reflect a set of new challenges posed by several socio-cultural and
contextual forces within and beyond the society. Based on a critical
examination of existing class reproduction literature, the author
first suggests an alternative hypothesis on the relationship between
education and class structure in Korean society and proffers an
example of one of the most recent educational debates—"school
collapse/school failure" —as the evidence of the hypothesis. The
author identifies four qualitatively different ideological strands
presented in the debate of "school collapse/school failure" between
1999-2001 and interprets that the debate epitomizes the inevitable
conflict between the surge of an instrumental view of education based
on the demands of post-industrial economy, and other alternatives,
more cultural or political value-oriented views on education.
is Education Counselor of the Korean Embassy in Washington,
DC. He has a Ph.D. from Seoul National University and an MA from the
University of London, both in education. He is a former Deputy
Superintendent of the Provincial governments of Inchon and Kyonggido.
Just before coming to the U.S., he served two years as the
Director-General of the Higher Education Bureau in the Republic of
Korea Ministry of Education.
is associate professor of anthropology, East Asian
languages and cultures, and women's studies at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; she is also a teaching faculty member of
Asian American Studies. She has published books on social movements in
contemporary South Korea (Echoes of the Past, Epics of Dissent: A
South Korean Social Movement, University of California Press, 1996);
and on Korean America (Blue Dreams: Korean Americans and the Los
Angeles Riots, with John Lie, Harvard University Press, 1995). Her
co-edited volume with Kathleen McHugh, South Korean Golden Age
Melodrama: Gender, Genre, and Nation is in print at Wayne State
University Press. Currently, she is completing The Intimate
University: College and the Korean American Family, based on 4 years
of transnational ethnography on the educational trajectories of Korean
American public college students as they articulate with the
educational histories of their immigrant parents.
Jae Hoon Lim
is assistant professor at The George Washington
University. She received her Ph. D in elementary education from the
University of Georgia with an emphasis in qualitative research
methodology. She teaches introductory and advanced qualitative
research courses for graduate students in School of Education and
Human Development. She has published several articles and book
chapters in academic and professional journals both in South Korea and
the United States. Her research interests include qualitative
research, gender studies, and socio-cultural issues in education.
Michael J. Seth
is assistant professor of history at James Madison
University where he teaches East Asian and comparative global history.
His Ph.D. is from the University of Hawaii. His research interests are
in Korean social history and the problems of economic and social
development. He is the author of "Education Fever: Society, Politics
and the Pursuit of Schooling in South Korea" (2002).
is assistant professor of history and international
affairs at The George Washington University. He is an expert on
American diplomatic history and U.S.-Asia relations. He earned a Ph.D.
from Cornell University in 2002. He is completing a book on American
Cold War Nation Building in South Korea.
Frederick F. Carriere
was associated with the Fulbright program in
Korea for fifteen years, including ten years in the capacity of
executive director. He has been the vice president and executive
director of The Korea Society in New York since 1994. He is a member
of the coordinating group for an educational exchange program between
Syracuse University and the Pyongyang-based Kim Chaek University of
Technology, which is being facilitated by The Korea Society. In this
capacity, he has made brief visits to Pyongyang in 2002 and 2004.
Roy Richard Grinker
is professor of anthropology, international
affairs, and the human sciences at GW. He received his Ph.D. in
social anthropology from Harvard University in 1989 with a
specialization in African studies. His publications include Houses in
the Rainforest, Korea and Its Futures: Unification and the Unfinished
War, In the Arms of Africa, and Perspectives on Africa: A Reader in
Culture, History and Representation. He worked extensively on
North-South Korean relations, and in 1997 he testified before the U.S.
Congress on the issue of North Korean defectors' adaptation to South
Korean society. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Anthropological
is professor of Korean language and culture and
international affairs at GW. She is past President of the
International Circle of Korean Linguistics. A theoretical linguist
with a broad interest in Korean humanities and Asian affairs,
Kim-Renaud has published widely in the area of Korean phonology,
writing system, honorifics, and general Korean cultural history.
Kirk W. Larsen
is the Korea Foundation assistant professor of history
and international affairs at GW. He received his Ph.D. in history from
Harvard University. His research and teaching interests include modern
Korean history, imperialism in Asia, networks, patterns, and trends of
trade in Northeast Asia, and the Overseas Chinese in Korea. He is
currently finishing a book on Qing imperialism in Choson Korea during
the Open Port Period (1876-1910).
The HMS Colloquium in the Korean Humanities Series at GW provides a
forum for academic discussion of Korean arts, history, language,
literature, thought and religious systems in the context of East Asia
and the world. The Colloquium series is made possible by an endowment
established by the estate of Hahn Moo-Sook (1918-1993), one of Korea's
most honored writers, in order to uphold her spirit of openness,
curiosity, and commitment to education. This year's colloquium is
sponsored by The George Washington University's Department of East
Asian Languages and Literatures and the Sigur Center for Asian
Studies, in cooperation with the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery.
Lenore D. Miller, Director of the Brady Art Gallery, cordially invites
colloquium participants to an opening reception of an exhibition of
ancient Korean pottery, private collection of Lawrence Rozanski,
immediately following the Colloquium, at 3:00 p.m., at the Gallery on
the 2nd floor of the MPA Building. The exhibition is organized in
conjunction with the 11th HMS Colloquium.
The Colloquium is open to the public free of charge. However,
reservations are required. For more information, please contact:
Dr. Young-Key Kim Renaud
Chair, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures
The George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052
Tel: 202-994-7106/7107, Fax: 202-994-1512