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Seminar: The Political and Social Role of Confucian Thoughts in Koryŏ Dynasty

It’s good to have the SOAS Friday evening seminars up and running again. There will be two more later this month. Note that there’s a mix of real-life and virtual events in this series. The first one is online only via zoom.

Seminar: The Political and Social Role of Confucian Thoughts in Koryŏ Dynasty

Speaker: Soojin Hyun (Sungkyunkwan University)
Date: Friday 11 March 2022, 5pm - 7pm
Venue: Online | Tickets: Free |
Sungkyunkwan, Kaesong

How did bureaucrats as intellectuals ruling Koryŏ dynasty (918~1392 C.E.) shape their political thoughts to govern the country and what kinds of thoughts influenced them? This talk will try to find the answer. Koryŏ dynasty located on the Korean peninsula is generally regarded as a Buddhist society. Of course, people of Koryŏ dynasty lived their lives practising Buddhism, however, Taoism and Shamanism influenced their life as well. Nevertheless, in terms of political thoughts and actual political affairs, they were greatly influenced by Confucianism. Bureaucrats of Koryŏ dynasty chose Han and Tang periods’ Confucian thought as their political ideology and tried to rule the country based on these thoughts in their own way. On the contrary, the people of Chosŏn dynasty, established right after Koryŏ dynasty in 1392, opted for Neo-Confucianism to rule the country. I will argue Koryŏ was ruled based on Han and Tang’s Confucian thought emphasising King’s strong power and authority towards his subjects creating a harmonious relationship between them. Through this talk, we can explore how specific Confucian thoughts influenced the Korean medieval ages, what was the relationship between the political thoughts and the actual political situation, and how those thoughts were transformed according to the historical transition.

Speaker Biography

Soojin Hyun is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Sungkyunkwan University, Republic of Korea, where she completed her BA and MA. She has been studying the intellectual history of Koryŏ dynasty (918~1392 C.E.) with a special focus on Confucian political thought based on The Five Confucian Classics (五經), its utilisation and role in the given period. She has published several papers in authorized journals in Korea, such as the Journal of Korean Medieval History. She would like to learn more about Confucianism during one year of research (Sep 2021 – Aug 2022) at SOAS as a visiting scholar.

Image: Wikipedia

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