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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 5: Historical Writing Since 1945$
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Axel Schneider and Daniel Woolf

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199225996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199225996.001.0001

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Historians and Historical Writing in Modern Korea

Historians and Historical Writing in Modern Korea

(p.659) Chapter 32 Historians and Historical Writing in Modern Korea
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

Henry Em

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Korea, describing how after 1945 those who had criticized colonial rule achieved influence, started to build modern academic institutions, and, in the southern state, excluded Marxists from the profession. A positivist style of history, modelled along the lines of modernization theory, dominated the discipline in South Korea for a long time, especially after the suppression of the student revolts in the 1960s. It was only after 1980 that the situation changed. In the wake of rapid economic modernization and concomitant political changes, long-dominant modernization theories were increasingly challenged, and notions of multiple modernities—assuming divergent paths to different manifestations of modernity—were fruitfully applied to research on Korean history. In this context, postcolonial theories and the Korean historical experience of suzerainty under Chinese and Japanese colonialism started to play an important role in conceptualizing multiple modernities, and have recently influenced the writing of history in Korea.

Keywords:   Korean historical writing, Korean historiography, positivist history, modernization theory, postcolonial theories, suzerainty, multiple modernities

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