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Title:Affirming ‘civilization’ in exile: Chŏng Yagyong (1762-1836)
Author(s):Shim, Yoonjeong
Director of Research:Toby, Ronald P.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Toby, Ronald P.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Abelmann, Nancy A.; Chow, Kai-Wing; Kim, Jungwon
Department / Program:E. Asian Languages & Cultures
Discipline:E Asian Languages & Cultures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Tasan Chŏng Yagyong
late Chosŏn Korea
Korean history
center and periphery
Abstract:This dissertation explores the work of Tasan Chŏng Yagyong (1762-1836), one of the most influential premodern Korean scholars, as that of an exile. I especially question how Tasan’s long years of exile and the anti-Western socio-intellectual atmosphere of the times led him to reformulate his later thought on multiple levels, including the way he perceived his contemporary society and identified himself. Exile to remote areas was among the most frequent forms of punishment meted out to disfavored scholar-officials in Chosŏn-dynasty Korea (1392-1910). Indeed, the sentence of exile was a way for Confucian rulers to perform monarchic virtue, and the prospect of exile was an ever-present possibility for even the most successful political figures. Existing scholarship on Tasan, caught up in a search for indigenous origins of Korean modernity, focuses heavily on what are seen as “modern” elements in this premodern intellectual’s writings. However, my analysis of Tasan’s writings during banishment, and the transformation of his ideas in exile, shows the ideological and social continuity of the times. Revisiting the key issues of center and periphery, the discourse of orthodoxy, and intellectual tolerance at the time, I argue that Tasan wanted to restore himself as a “civilized” Confucian scholar-official. Although this study focuses on Tasan’s exile experience and the reshaping of his thought in the early nineteenth century, it also stretches to the colonial period (1910-1945) when Korean scholars acknowledged Tasan’s achievements and published a collection of his writings for the first time. Their recovery and celebration of Tasan’s scholarship, predicated on an analogy between Tasan’s experience of exile and their own colonized situation, was a way of coping with, even resisting, colonial oppression. This helps us understand how and why Tasan appealed to modern scholars.
Issue Date:2013-05-28
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Yoonjeong Shim
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-28
Date Deposited:2013-05

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