Korea Seminar: Christianity and the Transformation of Religion in Korea

Fri, February 18, 2011 | Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Korea Seminar: Christianity and the Transformation of Religion in Korea

Much has been written to describe and explain how much Korea changed politically and economically over the course of the 20th century. Much less attention has been paid to the equally dramatic transformation of Korea’s religious culture, which includes an increase in the percentage of the population that says it has a specific religious affiliation from below 3% in 1900 to over 53% now, the emergence of many new religions, and a rise in religious nationalism (the assertion that Korea is now the spiritual guide the rest of the world should turn to). Professor Baker's talk explores how the addition of Christianity to Korea's religious landscape is a major reason for that transformation. 


Don Baker studies the cultural and religious history of Korea.He received his Ph.D. in Korean history from the University of Washington and has taught at UBC since 1987. He teaches the department's introduction to Asian civilizations for first-year students as well as undergraduate and graduate courses on Korean history and thought (religion, philosophy, and pre-modern science). In addition, he teaches a graduate seminar on the reproduction of historical trauma in Asia, in which he leads graduate students in an examination of how traumatic events in Asia in the 20th century, such as the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the bombing of Hiroshima, partition of India, China's Cultural Revolution, and the killing fields of Cambodia have been reproduced in eyewitness accounts, historiography, fiction, and film.

He was a co-editor of the Sourcebook of Korean Civilization and is also the author of Joseon hugi yugyo wa cheonjugyo eui taerip (The Confucian confrontation with Catholicism in the latter half of the Joseon dynasty). His most recent book is Korean Spirituality (University of Hawaii Press, 2008). In 2008, he was awarded the Tasan prize for his research on Tasan Chŏng Yagyong, a writer and philosopher in Korea in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Sponsored by: Center for East Asian Studies

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