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Eugene Park: A Genealogy of Dissent – The Progeny of Fallen Royals in Chosŏn Korea
November 25, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
| Humanities 1, Room 210
This lecture makes observations on politics, society, and culture of Korea since 1392 through a story of human interest. Decades after a bloody persecution that virtually exterminated the royal Wangs of the vanquished Koryŏ dynasty (918-1392), the succeeding Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910) rehabilitated the lucky survivors. Contrary to a popular assumption that the Wangs remained politically marginalized, many fared well. The most privileged among them won the patronage of the court, for which they performed ancestral rites in honor of Koryŏ monarchs; passed government service examinations; attained prestigious offices; commanded armies, and constituted local elite lineages. As members of a revived aristocratic descent group, the Wangs remained committed to a confucian moral universe, at the heart of which was a subject’s loyalty to the ruler — of course, the Chosŏn. At the time, an emerging body of subversive narrative, both written and oral, articulated sympathy toward the Wangs as victims of the tumultuous politics of Koryŏ-Chosŏn dynastic change, although the Wangs wisely steered clear of such a discourse until after Japan’s annexation of Korea in 1910. Such forces of modernity as colonialism, urbanization, industrialization, the Cold War, and globalization have transformed the Wangs as members of a distinct descent group to individuals from all walks of life.
Join the East Asian Colloquium in the third talk of their ongoing lecture series!