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Peace Corps Volunteers and the Making of Korean Studies in the United States

From the publisher’s website:

From 1966 through 1981 the Peace Corps sent more than two thousand volunteers to South Korea, to teach English and provide healthcare. A small yet significant number of them returned to the United States and entered academia, forming the core of a second wave of Korean studies scholars. How did their experiences in an impoverished nation still recovering from war influence their intellectual orientation and choice of study—and Korean studies itself?

In this volume, former volunteers who became scholars of the anthropology, history, and literature of Korea reflect on their experiences during the period of military dictatorship, on gender issues, and on how random assignments led to lifelong passion for the country. Two scholars who were not volunteers assess how Peace Corps service affected the development of Korean studies in the United States. Kathleen Stephens, the former US ambassador to the Republic of Korea and herself a former volunteer, contributes an afterword.

Seung-kyung Kim is Korea Foundation Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and director of the Institute for Korean Studies at Indiana University. Michael Robinson taught at the University of Southern California and Indiana University. The other contributors are Don Baker, Edward J. Baker, Donald N. Clark, Carter J. Eckert, Bruce Fulton, Laurel Kendall, Linda Lewis, Edward J. Shultz, Okpyo Moon, Clark W. Sorensen, and Kathleen Stephens.


Introduction | Seung-Kyung Kim and Michael Robinson

  1. Kwangju, Trauma, and the Problem of Objectivity in History-Writing | Don Baker
  2. How the Peace Corps Changed Our Lives | Edward J. Baker
  3. On Being  Part of the Peace Corps Generation in Korean Studies | Donald N. Clark
  4. A Road Less Traveled: From Rome to Seoul via the Peace Corps | Carter J. Eckert
  5. Serendipity, Uyŏn and Inyŏn | Bruce Fulton
  6. Did Women Have a Peace Corps-Korea Experience? | Laurel Kendall
  7. At the Border: Women,  Anthropology,  and North Korea | Linda Lewis
  8. Empathy,  Politics,  and Historical Imagination: A Peace Corps Experience and Its Aftermath | Michael Robinson
  9. Peace Corps-Korea Group K-1: Empowering to Serve as New Voices in Korean Studies | Edward J. Shultz
  10. A Korean Perspective: Peace Corps Volunteers, Europe, and the Study of Korea | Okpyo Moon
  11. Cultural Immersion, Imperialism,  and the Academy: An Outsider’s Look at Peace Corps Volunteers’ Contribution to Korean Studies | Clark W. Sorensen

Afterword | Kathleen Stephens

Entry on here.

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