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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Conference on Park Chung-hee era

The Korean Studies list brought a notice of the International Korean Studies Conference at the University of Wollongong in Australia 11 and 12 November this year with an interesting theme The Park Era: A Reassessment After 25 Years.
2004 marks the 25th year since Park's assassination, and yet his legacy lives on, underlining the position of great importance the Park era holds in South Korea's development as a nation. The Republic of Korea has been guided by five administrations over the past 25 years, but among these it is the Park administration that marks the turning point in Korea's modernization, and South Korea today is in many respects the product of that era.

The Park regime was, furthermore, a central player and agent in the political, economic and social conflicts that mark the period and drew much of the world's attention to the peninsula. It is therefore essential to our understanding of South Korea as a modern democracy and economic powerhouse that we reassess this administration.

The conference theme, The Park Era: A Reassessment After 25 Years, reflects some of the key questions that need to be examined by academics and other commentators on Korean affairs, about how Korean culture, psychology, democracy and national infrastructure has come to be what it is today. It also reflects the need for a deeper understanding of the importance this era holds in Korea's modern experience, based on analysis of new materials and enhanced by fresh approaches to a period characterized by widely divergent ideological commitments.

This search for a new understanding is given added importance by rapid change in the global environment driven by the rise of the United States of America's unilateralism and its categorisation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a core member of the "axis of evil", the globalisation of South Korea's industry, and the ever watchful eye of the world on Korean economic and security matters.
Love him or hate him, appreciate what happened to South Korea during his rule or be critical or both at the same time, there he stays in the minds of people.

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Comments to note "Conference on Park Chung-hee era" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Blogger ORANCKAY> said on 7.9.04 : 

RE: "The Republic of Korea has been guided by five administrations over the past 25 years, but among these it is the Park administration that marks the turning point in Korea's modernization, and South Korea today is in many respects the product of that era."

I saw this sentence and laughed.

The Park dictatorship can be credited with much.

But that particular sentence in the confrence introduction is a play on logic and the academics involved should be embarassed.

Korea has had 5 governments in the last 25 years DESPITE the Park dictatorship's intentions, and the fact it has had that many speaks of Korea's desire for democracy and that fact that life post-Yusin has been that much more democratic.

If I say "Company A has had 10 managers, but only the first one built a parking lot," the implication is that the other 9 did not do as well because they didn't build a parking lot when actually they didn't need to. Someday, Company A will have had 100 managers, but that doesn't mean the guy who made the parking lot outperformed those who came after him. (It only means he outperformed those who came before him.)

It would be pretty silly say the Roh (MH, not TW) government is/was somehow less a success because it didn't "mark the turning point in Korea's modernization" or that "South Korea today is in many respects the product of that era."

If I said there have been 20 (?) US presidents since Lincoln, but only Lincoln freed slaves," I'd look like I didn't have much good to say about Lincoln.

If one wanted to use the same style of sentence, it would make sense to say "Park's government was not the Republic of Korea's first, but it was the first to seek modernization...."

<Blogger wooj> said on 8.9.04 : 

If I said there have been 20 (?) US presidents since LincolnIf you put that "(?)" mark there not because 20 was an arbitrary & hypothetical example but because you really didn't remember that Lincoln was the 16th and Dubbya's the 43rd (and therefore there have been 27 presidents), I can't help finding it mildly amusing that you would be so knowledgeable about Korean politics yet not remember your own line of presidents! :)


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