Dr. Adam Bohnet

Conference: China within Chosŏn

Conference on China in Choson Korea

China within Chosŏn:

Chinese culture, politics and history and their Korean appropriations and interpretations during the early modern period

a conference funded through the Laboratory for the Globalization of Korean Studies through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS-2013-LAB-2250001)



Place: Idlewyld Inn and King's University College (Dante Lendardon 112), London, Ontario

Date: August 26-28, 2016. 
Recently, the status of the Chinese language has been rising in South Korea. While this is a break from the twentieth century (during which first Japan and the Japanese language, and then the United States and English language, dominated), it is in most respects a return to the usual standard of the past, as during nearly all of Korean history, the importance of relations with various Chinese empires has dwarfed all of Korea’s other international relations. In the case of the Chosŏn dynasty, “China” was preeminent not only in international and military affairs, but in many aspects of domestic political, intellectual and cultural life. Political discussion referred to Chinese historical precedent, the main traditions of poetry were derived from Tang or Song models, and debates concerning metaphysics and statecraft developed earlier Chinese debates. Indeed, following the fall of the Ming to the Manchu Qing in 1644, cultural politics and international relations merged, as Chosŏn elites increasingly treated the true heir to the Chinese political tradition to be present not in China but in Chosŏn itself, a trend that gained concrete manifestation with the establishment of a shrine to the Ming, the Altar of Great Gratitude (Taebodan), in the palace grounds in 1704.  
On the other hand, long before the establishment of the Taebodan, Chosŏn yangban elites had appropriated and naturalized Chinese tradition as their own, using it selectively for their own purposes, in a similar manner to Christian and Muslim appropriation of Classical Mediterranean culture. However, in Chosŏn, Chinese history and culture could never be separated from the existing political China on its borders. The cultural role of China within Chosŏn has thus been confusing, controversial and in need of justification by twentieth century scholars, especially those writing according to the logic of national history. 
This conference will bring together a select group of scholars from Europe, Korea and North America to discuss these issues from the perspectives of both literature and history. 


For advice on travelling to the conference venue, click here.


For some information on London, King's and the Idlewyld and area, click here. 


For the schedule, see below


August 26


Arrive in London, Ontario. Welcome dInner at Idlewyld Inn, 7:00 PM.


August 27


7:00-8:30AM: Breakfast for presenters at Idlewyld Inn.
Presenters depart together for King's at 8:40. 


9:00 AM: Sign into conference at King's, Dante Lenardon 112. 
9:15: Introduction


9:30-11:00: First Panel: The Image of China in Chosŏn Literature:

Christina Han (History, Wilfred Laurier - Brantford Campus):
"The Tang-Song Poetry Debate in Chosŏn and its Implications."
Barbara Wall (Asien-Afrika-Institut, Universität Hamburg):
“How Journey to the West became Korea.”


11:00-11:10: Coffee Break

11:10-12:40:  Second Panel: Outsiders and Insiders in Chosŏn


Adam Bohnet (History, King's University College at UWO):
“Chinese, Loyalists and their Descendants – from Chŏng In’gyŏng to Shi Wenyong.”
Pierre-Emmanuel Roux (Université Paris Diderot, UFR de Langues et Civilisations d’Asie Orientale):
The Unexpected Barbarians: Anti-Christianity in Qing-Chosŏn Relations”
12:50-2:30: Lunch for panelists at the Bungalow: http://www.bungalowhub.ca/ 


2:50-4:20:   Third Panel: Rethinking the Tribute System


Sixiang Wang (James Joo-Jin Kim Program for Korean Studies, University of Pennsylvania):
"Empire, Ecumene, and Cosmopolis: Discussion of the Tribute System through Portrayals of Korea in Chinese Fiction"
Joshua Van Lieu (History, LaGrange College):  
"Lost Futures of Qing-Chosŏn Relations: Chaoxian celue and the Global Modern"


Dinner for panelists: 7:30 PM at the Church Key at 476 Richmond Street. 
August 28
Breakfast and roundtable discussion: 9:00-11:00 AM (for those who can make it)