The book deals with the influences Social Darwinism exerted upon Korea’s modern ideologies in their formative period - especially nationalism – after its introduction to Korea in 1883 and before Korea’s annexation by Japan in 1910. It shows that the belief in the “survival of the fittest” as the overarching cosmic and social principle constituted the main underpinning for the modernity discourses in Korea in the 1890s-1900s. Unlike the dominant ideology of traditional Korea, Neo-Confucianism, which was largely promoted by the scholar-official elite, Social Darwinism appealed to the modern intellectuals, but also to the entrepreneurs, providing the justification for their profit-seeking activities as part of the “national survival” project. As an ideology of Korea’s nascent capitalism, Social Darwinism in Korea could, however, hardly be called a liberal creed: it clearly prioritized “national survival” over individual rights and interests.
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Social Darwinism and Nationalism in Korea: the Beginnings (1880s-1910s)
Young Kyun Oh, Arizona State University
In Engraving Virtue, Young Kyun Oh investigates the publishing history of the Samgang Haengsil-to (Illustrated Guide to the Three Relations), a moral primer of Chosŏn (1392–1910), and traces the ways in which woodblock printed books contributed to shaping premodern Korea.
Remco E. Breuker
Recognizing the uniquely codified pluralist orientation of early Koryŏ society (918-1170), this book presents a radical re-evaluation of Koryŏ identities and self-perceptions, which entails far-reaching consequences for the understanding of Koryŏ history and of its place in East Asian history.
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