The Case of Sin Ch’aeho: a Nationalist Appropriation of Confucianism?

Maison de l'Asie - Grand salon (1er étage)  -  22, avenue du Président Wilson  -  75116 paris
Conférence de Vladimir Tikhonov/Pak Noja, Oslo University au Centre de recherches sur la Corée.

One of the central claims of the modernization theory, which dominated Euro-American academia in the 1950s-70s, was the essential difference between “traditional values” and “modern worldview”. “Tradition” was seen as an impediment, rather than starting point, for a “successful modernization”. Consequently, the studies of modern China and Korea were dominated by the “traditional – modern” dichotomy, “modernity” being seen as having been “imported” from outside and having “supplanted” the “reactionary Confucian tradition” – or having failed to do so successfully enough. The recent studies has been showing, however, that no unbridgeable gap ever existed between “tradition” and “modernity”, the “modern” ideologies, from liberalism to nationalism, having recognizable “traditional” antecedents in the East Asian context. Continuing this line of research, the presentation will focus on how Sin Ch’aeho’s (1880-1936) pioneering nationalist discourse appropriated many pre-existing Confucian notions in Korea. It will emphasize the use of the Neo-Confucian understanding of self-cultivation as “suppression of the selfish desires” for constructing the modern discourse of “selfless contribution to public cause”, as well as the genealogical connections between the Confucian loyalism and modern patriotism. It will also outline the connections between the normative images of the Confucian “superior gentleman” and nationalist “hero”. In a way of conclusion, the presentation will show how the appropriation of the pre-existing ideological motifs may allow the modernist cultural entrepreneurs to combine a measure of cultural continuity with the needed degree of political and ideological novelty
  • le vendredi 25 février 2011  de 14h  à 16h

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