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Conference on


The Long Nineteenth Century and the Foreign Powers"


19 - 20 May, 2017


Voßstraße 2, Bld. 4400, Karl Jaspers Centre
 69115 Heidelberg


Organization: Harald Fuess - HCTS Professorship Cultural Economic History



The long nineteenth century has received renewed scholarly attention as a key transformative period in global history for its accelerated engagement between Europe, America, Asia and Africa. Within this grander world narrative of the nineteenth century the role of Korea still appears to be undervalued, if it is considered at all. The aim of this conference is to bridge the gap between scholars of East Asian history and Korea specialists in an attempt to address how to conceptualize the history of Korea within current historical frameworks.

The conference revisits one of the central problems of modern Korean history with an emphasis on the global context, namely why Korea lost its national independence in the age of imperialism. This question has been asked before by several generations of Korea historians but we would like to pose it again considering the insights of global history and by including historians whose primary research expertise lies in other world regions. This conference is a major intellectual and institutional experiment. It aims to discuss the entangled history of Korea before 1910 through an extensive, collaborative international effort.

The event is organized by Prof. Harald Fuess at the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe". He is a scholar of Japanese social, economic and cultural history, increasingly interested in broader global contexts.





DAY ZERO (18 May) Thursday


Arrival of participants


Optional participation at the “Cluster of Excellence”/Heidelberg Centre of Transcultural Studies event:

16:15 to 17:45 Jour Fixe (Karl Jaspers Centre 212)

David Howell, Harvard, “How Green was my Night Soil: Thinking with Excrement about Nineteenth-Century Japan”

19:00               Preconference Dinner (Only Invited Conference Speakers)


DAY ONE (19 May) Friday: Re-Interpreting History?


9:00-9:30        Welcome and Introduction

Melanie Trede, Heidelberg, “Greetings from the Center of East Asian Studies”

Harald Fuess, Heidelberg, “Korea and Global History?”


9:30-12:00       Early Modern Korea

Chair: Steven Ivings, Heidelberg; Commentator: You Jae Lee, Tübingen


Anders Karlsson, SOAS, “Flooding, Famine and Finance: Korea’s Long and Arduous Nineteenth Century”

Chang-su Kim, University of Seoul, “Study on the Private Exchange between Joseon Envoys and Qing Officials”

Kirk W. Larsen, Brigham Young University, “Chosŏn Korea in the Age of High Imperialism”


12:00-13:00     Lunch       (Karl Jaspers Center)


13:00-15:00     Impact of Imperialism

Chair: Judit Arokay, Heidelberg; Commentator: Michael Shin, Cambridge


Robert Oppenheim, U Texas at Austin, “Materiality and Sentiment in Late 19th Century Korean-U.S. Intellectual Exchange”

Sinwoo Lee, California State Chico, "Breaking Walls, Dis-membering City: Mixed Residence, Extraterritoriality, and New Subjects of Empire in Seoul, 1882-1914”

Holly Stephens, U Penn, “Global Trade in Local Markets: Reconciling Knowledge, Practice, and Risk within the Nineteenth Century Rural Economy”


15:00-15:30     Break


15:30-17:30     Sovereignty, Culture and Identity

Chair: Joachim Kurtz, Heidelberg; Commentator: Hans Martin Krämer, Heidelberg


Jong-Chol An, Tübingen, “Korean Understanding of “Civilization” and “Sovereignty” in the Late 19th Century: An Analysis on Three International Law Books”

Hyojin Lee, Heidelberg, "Confucianism and Cultural Interactions in East Asia"

Christine Kim, Georgetown University, “‘Conform to the Spirit of the Times’: Imperial Korea in the Twilight of Sovereignty”


17:30-18:00     Break


18:00-19:00     Keynote Speech

Kyung Moon Hwang, USC Dornsife “Global and East Asian Statecraft in Korea at the Close of the Long 19th Century, 1880-1910”


Followed by evening reception for all conference participants (Karl Jaspers Centre)


DAY TWO (20 May) Saturday: The Demise of the Korean State, Re-Constitution of Korean Culture


9:30-12:00      Economy, Commerce and the Nation

Chair: Stefan Knoob, Duisburg-Essen; Commentator: Steven Ivings, Heidelberg


Seong Ho Jun, Academy of Korean Studies, “Cost Accounting from Kaesŏng Korea in the Nineteenth Century: Analysing Cost Statements of Ginseng Farming, Balance Sheets and Income Statements”

Ryota Ishikawa, Ritsumeikan, “Korean Merchants in Treaty Ports in the Late Nineteenth Century”

Howard Kahm, Yonsei University, “Modernity in Currency: The Rise of National Currencies in the Japanese Empire and Late Nineteenth Century Korea”


12:00-13:00     Lunch        (Karl Jaspers Center)

13:00-15:00     Erosion of the Korean State

Chair: Jaok Kwon-Hein, Heidelberg; Commentator: Alain Delissen, EHESS Paris


Kyoim Yun, University of Kansas, “Fire and Fury: The Cheju Rebellion of 1901”

Katharina Schmölders, Bonn, “King Kojong and his International Diplomatic Efforts”

Adrien Carbonnet, Leuven, “The Belgium-Korea Relations (1900-1905) - Focusing on the Nomination of a Belgian Counselor to the Chosǒn Court” 

Miji Kim, Seoul National University, “The Discourse of ‘The Fall and Failure of Chosôn Dynasty’ and the ‘Foreign Powers’ as an Influential Factor


15:00-15:30     Break


15:30-17:30     Law and Power

Chair: Hyojin Lee, Heidelberg; Commentator: Harald Fuess, Heidelberg

Saeyoung Park, Leiden, “Rethinking Sovereign Violence and Imperialism: the Gunboat as Metaphor and Reality”

Yoo Bada, Korea University, “A Study on the Formation of Semi-sovereign or Dependent State Joseon’s Legal Status in the 19th century’s Western European International Law”

Seung-Young Kim, Sheffield, "Diplomacy for Korean Neutrality and Buffer Zone in Modern History"

Sungmin Han, Daejeon University, “A Study on the Process of the Japanese ‘Annexation’ of Korea after the Protectorate Treaty of 1905: Focusing on the Activities of Japanese Working-level Bureaucrats”


18:00-19:00     Evening Roundtable: “Politics of History and Memory in East Asia”

Takuma Melber, Heidelberg; Lauren Richardson, Edinburgh; Michael Shin, Cambridge


19:30 Dinner (For conference participants only)


DAY THREE (21 May) Sunday: Practical Issues


9:30-11:30      Discussing Publishing Plans  


End of Conference

This Conference is funded by