Korea and Vietnam in the Modern and Contemporary Ages : Comparisons and New Connections, 15 September 2017
Deadline : 15 September 2017
Conference dates : 1 – 2 June 2018
Seoul National University Asia Centre, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul National University, Asia Centre, Seoul; Vietnam National University, Hanoi; International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden; Leiden University, Leiden; École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. An initiative directed by IIAS.
Comparative studies are located at the heart of humanities and social science studies (Détienne 2000, Werner and Zimmermann 2004; Felsky & Friedman 2013), particularly in area studies (Anderson 1998, Lieberman 2009). In that field especially, implicit or explicit comparisons often determine certain conceptions of regional and sub-regional orders. For example, the study of East Asia is implicitly situated within a comparative approach to China and the Sinitic culture. What other “strange parallels” (Lieberman) could possibly be operational to set a “comparative gesture” (Robinson 2011) that would not be determined by usual ‘sino-style’ conceptions of Asia? How to trigger new connections and parallels in area studies?
In partnership, Seoul National University-Asia Centre, the International Institute for Asian Studies, Vietnam National University, Leiden University and École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales set out to address this “comparative gesture” by initiating a deliberate by-pass of dominant geometries and meta-narratives. One way to do so is by organizing conferences or other forms of interactive platforms that would explore unexploited or only partially studied parallels and connections. In doing so, the partners not only seek to contribute to renew how ‘Asian studies’ is methodological framed. By identifying new articulations beyond established approaches of global history, they seek to underscore the intellectual merits – as well as limits – of comparisons as a social science and humanities method.
The first conference entitled Vietnam and Korea as “Longue Durée” Subject of Comparison: From the Pre-modern to the Early Modern Periods took place in Hanoi, Vietnam from 3-4 March 2017.
The second conference entitled Korea and Vietnam in the Modern and Contemporary Ages: Comparisons and New Connections will take place in Seoul, South Korea, from 1-2 June 2018.
In-depth comparison of the premodern histories of Vietnam and Korea yields an index of fascinating parallels, some of which are structurally related to both historical communities’ adjacent to the center of the Sinosphere, if on opposite ends of it. The long 19th century and the equally long and traumatic 20th century occasioned divergences to emerge in the developmental trajectories of the premodern states located on the Korean peninsula and in the east of the Indochinese peninsula. Both states shared the experience of brutally exploitative colonialism, but colonial experiences were as diverse as the colonial empires the states were drafted into. The seeming likeness of the modern histories of Vietnam and Korea continued when the postcolonial condition was made painfully explicit in the North-South divisions of states. Again, a devastating war with the pronounced involvement of super powers between North and South mirrors Vietnamese and Korean experiences. As a consequence, Vietnam was reunified, while Korea stayed divided. Here, comparison dissolves into connection when the South Korean participation in the Vietnam War is taken into consideration. Vietnam became a possible Korean future, while both Korea’s had become futures that would no longer happen for Vietnam.
The intricate patterns that emerge when considering Vietnam and Korea side by side in the modern age of course stretch into every field of academic enquiry, whether historically, geographically or culturally. Comparison and connection taken together offer a grip on the rich and complicated intertwined narratives of the Korean and Vietnamese states from the late 19th century onwards. The conference’s heuristic purpose will be to (re)connect the two countries as subjects of History and articulate their trajectories diachronically, yielding changing perspectives on Vietnam and Korea.
Whether it is the role of the South Korean businesses who in the shadow of the ROK troops set their first steps on the path of becoming the international conglomerates in the Vietnam War that kick started the Korean economy (returning to Vietnam in the late 90s); the developmental processes of Vietnam as potential beacons for future North Korean development; or the Vietnamese and Korean diaspora’s in comparison, these are the loci where comparison and connection meet and meet again, yielding changing perspectives on Vietnam and Korea.
Presentations may not be restricted to works explicitly comparing Korea and Vietnam, yet presenters have to bear in mind the ultimate purpose of framing debates in comparison between the two Asian countries and their societies. Likewise, studies from scholars specialized on China, Japan, and other Asian countries are welcome, provided they contribute to the general problematic of the workshop. Junior scholars are particularly encouraged to submit abstracts.
Paper and panel proposals should be submitted via the forms available on our website by 15 September 2017. Successful applicants will be notified by 15 November 2017 and will be required to send a draft paper (6000 – 8000 words) by 15 May 2018.
Participants are expected to pay their own travel and accommodation expenses. Limited financial support may be available to some scholars who reside in Asia and some junior or low-income scholars from other parts of the world. If you would like to be considered for a grant, please submit the Grant Application Form in which you state the motivation for your request. Please also specify the kind of funding that you will apply for or will receive from other sources. Please note that the conference operates on a limited budget, and will not normally be able to provide more than a partial coverage of the costs of travel. The form should be submitted by 15 September 2017. Requests for funding received after this date will not be taken into consideration.
Further information about the venue, suggestions for accommodation, and logistics will be provided on our webpage once the proposals have been accepted.
For questions, please contact Ms Martina van den Haak at email@example.com
- Prof. Myungkoo Kang (SNUAC)
- Prof. Nguyen Van Kim (VNU)
- Dr Philippe Peycam (IIAS)
- Prof. Remco Breuker (LU)
- Dr Suhong Chae (SNUAC)
- Dr Valérie Gelézeau (EHESS)