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00707012
2011.11
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KOREAN

European Koreanists Have Lively Academic Debates   Korean Studies Graduate Students’ Convention in Paris  The eighth annual Korean Studies Graduate Students’ Convention in Europe (KSGSC was held in Paris for three days from September 13 under the auspices of the Association for Korean Studies in Europe (AKSE). Jointly sponsored by the CRC (Center for Korean Studies) of the EHESS (School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences) and the INALCO (National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations), the convention had seven debaters and eight panel groups from Korea-related institutions in Paris, along with 25 presenters from Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, and the United Kingdom.


Promotion of Korean Studies

This year’s convention took place at the magnificent Maison de l’Asie near the Eiffel Tower in central Paris. Following a welcoming speech by Kim Hui-yeon, organizer of the convention, Valérie Gelézeau, director of the Centre de Recherches sur la Corée (CRC) at EHESS, formally opened the convention with remarks about the importance of the KSGSC as an institution that helps junior researchers increase their understanding of Korean Studies. Dr. Gelézeau chaired the first panel on contemporary South Korean society that featured four papers. The second and third panels, which dealt with pre-modern and modern Korean history, were chaired by Yannick Bruneton of the University of Paris 7 and Alain Delissen of the EHESS, respectively.

On the second day, a politics session was chaired by Marie-Orange Rivé-Lasan from the University of Paris 7. The panel on religion was chaired by Kim Dae-yeol of INALCO. There were two panels on literature, the first chaired by Isabelle Sancho of the EHESS and the second led by Jeong Eun-jin from INALCO. Six papers were presented at these sessions. The final panel on linguistics, which was chaired by Yannick Bruneton, had papers on “Morphological Integration of Sino-Korean Lexicon in Modern Korean” by Vladislava Mazana of Charles University in Prague, and “Language Variations in Modern Korean” by Ekaterina Logunova of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Unique Presentations and In-depth Debate

Among a number of highlights of the conference, I think it is worth mentioning a few. Kim Hye-lim gave a marvelous performance of traditional Korean instrumental music during her presentation. Kwon Byeong-hee, a Korean government official who is currently undertaking his PhD. study in the U.K., provided fascinating insight into the South Korean government’s attempts to create a constructive policy to manage an increasingly aging population.

Jo Jung-soo made a presentation on a difficult and controversial subject, and although his research is still in its infancy, he should be commended on the high quality of his presentation. His delivery was well-measured, comprehensible, and fascinating. As a speaker, Jo took account of the one factor that is often ignored by conference presenters: the audience. There is a performative as well as an instructive aspect to presenting a solid conference paper, and with this in mind, Jo’s paper might be regarded as a model to future presenters at KSGSC conventions.



I would also like to commend Vladislava Mazana for her brave debut performance on the conference circuit, and also Ekaterina Logunova for making a difficult aspect of Korean linguistics interesting to experts and laypersons alike. Although I have commented on only a few papers, it is no exaggeration to say that the majority of the papers presented over the three days would not have been out of place at more “senior” conferences like AKSE.

Dealing with questions is, of course, one of the great trials of conferences. Jun Chan-chul endured some challenging questioning and came out smiling at the end. It should be said that, more often than not, the more difficult the question is, the more the researcher stands to benefit ultimately. At all sessions the attendance was excellent and the quality of discussion was remarkable, with participants offering constructive contributions. In particular, Kent Davy and Lauren Richardson should be commended on their extremely positive contributions. Through their thoughtful questioning, they helped keep the debates lively, academic, and interesting.

Profound French Flavor and Style

On both evenings, dinners were held at downtown restaurants so the participants had opportunities to sample the famous French cuisine. It was also unanimously agreed that the packed lunches arranged by the organizers set a standard that would be difficult to match in future gatherings. On the last evening, we were treated to a river tour of Paris along the Seine on one of the famous Bateaux Mouches. All of these events gave us great opportunities to socialize and share ideas and experiences with our fellow Koreanists.

Kim Hui-yeon of EHESS spent valuable time away from her dissertation to make sure everything went as planned. Ms. Kim was assisted by Dr. Isabelle Sancho and two students, Aurélien Laroulandie and Park Syung-hyun, from EHESS. Also, the convention would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship of the Korea Foundation, EHESS, and INALCO. The organizers should be commended for putting on an extremely successful convention.

Andrew David Jackson
Oriental Institute, University of Oxford

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