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A History of Korea

9781872843865A History of Korea (9781872843865, hard cover) is a product of a particular moment in South Korean social and political history, authored collectively by the Korean Historical Research Association and published in the aftermath of the popular resistance movements of the late 1980s that brought an end to military dictatorship and ushered in direct elections for the presidency of South Korea.

The historians of the Korean Historical Research Association, who compiled the volume, were not dispassionate recorders of those events but rather active participants in the democracy movements of the time, who understood their scholarship as a contribution to popular resistance against military rule and as a tool for the democratisation and unification of Korea. Buy this book | Bibliographical Data | Table of Contents

These historians were writing against previous understandings of Korean history that they perceived as legitimising political and economic oppression from both Korean elites and foreign powers.

As they stood in opposition to previous histories and their political underpinnings, they proposed their own visions of past, present, and future Korean societies. In so doing, they helped move the popular struggle for the democratisation of South Korea towards the centre of the national narrative.

A History of Korea is a manifesto, a conscious call for a particular interpretation of Korean history for deployment in the democratisation, unification, and class liberation movements of the period.

About the Korean Historical Research Association
The Korean Historical Research Association (Hanguk Yeoksa Yeonguhoe) was founded in 1988 as the ultimate result of several years of organisational work by historians who participated in the Korean social reform movements of the 1980s.

The Association began as a mass organisation of Korea historians that, according to its founding mission statement, sought to “actively participate in the creation of a truly democratic and independent Korean society by joining together with a new determination to establish and continuously implement a scientific historiography based upon the correct worldview.”

The Korean Historical Research Association thus took up the goal of “contributing to the independence and democratisation of Korean society through the establishment of a scientific and practical historiography.” The Association engages in joint research projects, spreading the results of historical research to the masses, and publishing and distributing academic journals and popular history texts.

The Korean Historical Research Association now has more than 700 members and has created an efficient organisation that publishes and disseminates papers, books, and bulletins.

About the Translator
Joshua Van Lieu, the translator of this volume, at the time of publication, was a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Washington, conducting dissertation research in nineteenth century Sino-Korean relations and Korean political history.

Table of Contents | Buy this book

  • Translator’s Preface 12
  • Introduction 17
  • Part One • Primitive Society • 21
    Chapter 1 — Primitive Communal Society 22
    1 | People and Labour: Human Evolution 22
    2 | Human Life in Primitive Society 23
    3 | The Disintegration of Primitive Communal Society 26
  • Part Two • Ancient Society • 29
    Introduction 30
    Chapter 2 — The Establishment of Ancient Society 33
    1 | The Appearance of Class and Emergence of Old Joseon 33
    2 | The Ruling Structure of Old Joseon 36
    Chapter 3 — The Development of Ancient Society 40
    1 | The Rise of the Three Kingdoms & the Establishment of Goguryeo 40
    2 | Political Systems and Social Structures of the Three Kingdoms 44
    Discussion 1 — The Ideology of Ancient Society 50
    1 | Ideology and Mythology: Its Appearance and Function 50
    2 | Buddhism in the Three Kingdoms Period 54
  • Part Three • Medieval Society • 57
    Introduction 58
    Chapter 4 — The Establishment of Feudal Society 61
    1 | The Transition to Feudalism and Unification of the Three Kingdoms 61
    2 | The Establishment of Northern and Southern States 63
    3 | Political Structure in the Establishment Period of Feudal Society 65
    4 | Peasant Resistance and the Rise of the Hojok in the Late Silla Period 67
    Chapter 5 — The Development of Feudal Society 71
    1 | The Unification of the Later Three Kingdoms and the Creation of the Political System of Early Goryeo 71
    2 | Strengthening the Feudal Political Structure 74
    3 | The Socio-economic Conditions of the Peasantry 78
    Chapter 6 — Social Change and Peasant Resistance in 12th-14th Centuries 81
    1 | Twelfth Century Socio-economic Change and Political Instability 81
    2 | Peasant Resistance Struggles 84
    3 | Anti-Mongol Resistance and Mongol Interference 86
    4 | The Search for Reform 89
    Chapter 7 — The Reorganisation of Feudal Society 92
    1 | Peasant Trends and the Rise of the New Scholar-Officials 92
    2 | The Foundation of Joseon and the New Political Structure 95
    3 | The Socio-economic Position of the Peasantry 98
    Chapter 8 — Social Change and Ruling Class Response in the 16-17th Centuries 102
    1 | Development of the Landlord System and Yangban Dominance 102
    2 | The Development of Factional Politics and the Search for Reform 104
    3 | Social Ethics and Neo-Confucian Ideology 108
    Chapter 9 — Economy and Society in the Period of Feudal Disintegration 112
    1 | Changes in the Feudal Economic Structure 112
    2 | The Destabilisation of the Status System and the Reorganisation of Taxation 115
    3 | Changes in Local Political Structures 118
    Chapter 10 — Thought, Politics and the Disintegration of Feudal Society 120
    1 | Concentration of Power and Political Change 120
    2 | Intellectual Conflict and the Rigidity of the Ruling Ideology 124
    3 | Resistance and the Growth of Peasant Consciousness 127
    Chapter 11 —Development of Anti-Feudal Peasant Resistance 130
    1 | Forms of Resistance Struggle 130
    2 | The Northwest People’s Resistance Struggle 131
    3 | The Peasant Resistance Struggle of 1862 135
    Discussion 2 — Medieval Land Tenure Systems 138
    1 | Special Features of Korean Feudal Land Ownership 138
    2 | Establishment of the Medieval Land Tenure System 140
    3 | The Development of the Medieval Land Tenure System 141
    4 | Reorganisation of the Medieval Land Tenure System 144
    Discussion 3 — Medieval Status System 147
    1| Formation and Development of the Medieval Status System 147
    2| Character of the Medieval Status System 153
    Discussion 4 — Medieval Thought 156
    1 | Buddhist Thought 156
    2 | Confucian Thought 164
  • Part Four • Early Modern Society • 169
    Introduction 170
    Chapter 12 — Unequal Treaties and the Exploitation of the Masses 173
    1 | Open Ports and Unequal Treaties 173
    2 | Foreign Economic Encroachment and the Exploitation of the Masses 176
    Chapter 13 — Modern Reform Movements 181
    1 | The Gapsin Coup and the Gabo Reforms 181
    2 | The Peasant War of 1894 185
    Chapter 14 — Social Change and Reform in during the Han Empire 191
    1 | Socio-economic Change in the Great Han Empire Period 191
    2 | The Independence Association and the Gwangmu Reforms 194
    3 | The Anti-Foreign, Anti-Feudal Resistance of the Masses 198
    Chapter 15 — The Crisis of Colonisation and National Resistance 201
    1 | The Fundamental Project of Japanese Colonisation 201
    2 | The Righteous Armies and the Anti-Japanese War 205
    3 | The Enlightenment Movement 208
    Chapter 16 — Japanese Annexation and Anti-Japanese Nationalist Movements 212
    1 | Japanese Annexation of Joseon and Military Rule 212
    2 | Domestic and Overseas Nationalist Movements 215
    3 | The March First Movement 218
    Chapter 17 — Growth and Division of the National Liberation Movement 222
    1 | Divisive Rule and Exploitation of the Masses 222
    2 | The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea and the Independence Army Movement 226
    3 | Growth and Division of the Domestic National Liberation Movement 227
    Chapter 18 — Development of the National Liberation Movement 233
    1 | Fascist Rule and Changing Modes of Exploitation 233
    2 | Mass Movements and the Socialist Movement 237
    3 | National Liberation Movements outside Joseon 240
    Chapter 19 — The United Front Movement and Preparation for National Liberation 243
    1 | Fascist General Mobilisation and Ethnic Eradication Policy 243
    2 | Mass Struggle for Survival and the United Front Movement 247
    3 | The United Front Movement and Armed Struggle outside Joseon 248
    4 | Preparations for National Liberation, Proposals for Independence Preparing for the ‘War of Liberation’ 251
    Discussion 5 — Early Modern Society and Imperialism 253
    1 | Imperialism and Colonial Control 253
    2 | The National/Colonial Problem and National Liberation Movements 256
  • Part 5 – Modern Society • 263
    Introduction 264
    Chapter 20 — Failure to Establish an Independent Nation State and the Korean War 267
    1 | Liberation and the Deployment of United States and Soviet troops 267
    2 | The Moscow Agreement 270
    3 | Divided Government and the Anti-Division Struggle 273
    4 | The Korean War 276
    Chapter 21 — The April Mass Resistance Struggle and the Establishment of the Military Regime 279
    1 | The Yi Regime and the April Mass Resistance Struggle 279
    2 | The Rise of the Military Regime and the Anti-Foreign, Anti-Authoritarian Movement 286
    Chapter 22 — Militarist Fascism and the Growth of Mass Movements 291
    1 | Yusin System and Socio-Economic Structural Change 291
    2 | The Mass Movements of the 1970s 294
    3 | Military Coup and the Gwangju Mass Movement 297
    4 | The Expansion of Fascism and the 1980s Mass Movement 299
    Chapter 23 — New Developments in the National Democracy Movement 302
    1 | Rapid Economic Growth and Class Differentiation 302
    2 | The Anti-Authoritarian United Front and the Mass Struggle of 1987 304
    3 | Transformation of the Political System and the Development of the National Democracy Movement 307
    4 | Great Transformations in World History and Contemporary Themes 310
    Discussion 6 — Women and the Early Modern and Modern Periods 314
    1 | The Historical Development of Women’s Issues 314
    2 | Early Modern Women and the Women’s Movement 316
    3 | Modern Women and the Development of the Women’s Movement 320
    Discussion 7 — The Development of Modern Historiography 327
    1| Early Modern Historiography 328
    2 | Developments in Modern Historiography 332
    3 | New Directions in Historical Research after the 1980s 337
  • Appendix: Korean Romanisation 339
  • Index | Buy this book
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