The UBC Kameyama Lecture Series on Buddhist Studies Proudly Presents:
Professor Eun-su Cho, Seoul National University
“Late 19th Century Korean Buddhism – A Missing Link”
4:00-5:30 P.M., October 28 (Thursday), 2010
Room 604 Asian Centre
Eun-su Cho is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Seoul National Universty. She has received her Ph.D. in 1997 from U.C. Berkeley. Her research ranges from Indian Abhidharma Buddhism to Korean Buddhist thought and history. She is the founding director of the International Center for Korean Studies at Seoul National University. Her most recent articles include “Wŏnch’ŭk’s Place in the East Asian Buddhist Tradition,” “Creating a Korean Philosophical Tradition: Pak Chong-hong and the Discomfiting Indispensability of European Thought” and “The Uses and Abuses of Wŏnhyo and the ‘T’ong Pulgyo’ Narrative.” She has also translated the Jikji simgyong from Classical Chinese into English. Her edited volume titled Korean Buddhist Nuns and Laywomen: Hidden Histories, Enduring Vitality is forthcoming in 2010 from the SUNY Press.
Description of the Talk:
Typical narratives of Korean history at the turn of the twentieth century list a chain of events with well-established causal relationships. The late 19th century is characterized in terms of a Confucian response to the West, followed by Japanese colonization and the advance of Christian missionaries, which, in turn, inspired a feverish domestic quest for progress and modernity. In this linear and monolithic historiography, the place of Buddhism is vague and obscure. This talk will focus on the emerging signs of changes in its religious and social outlook of the Buddhist society at that time and argue that the last few decades of the 19th century can be thought of as the missing link between traditional Buddhism and its later development after the colonial period onward.