Chinese Vassal or Sovereign Nation? Chosôn Korea’s Late-19th Century International Status

Chinese Vassal or Sovereign Nation? Chosôn Korea's Late-19th Century International Status

Kirk Larsen - Brigham Young University

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Room 312, Hall Of Graduate Studies (HGS) See map
320 York Street
New Haven, CT 6511

Among the numerous challenges facing Chosôn Korea in the late 19th century was the need to clarify and modify Korea’s international status, particularly the nature of its relationship with the Qing Empire. A close examination of the key elements in Korea’s efforts-treaties, legations, and the politics of symbol and display-reveals a story far more problematic and complicated than the simple narrative of the Chosôn Kingdom struggling to pry itself loose from a traditional Sino-centric order in favor of entering the Western-style “family of nations.” Moreover, the simple categories of traditional Asian order vs. a Western-dominated international order mask a reality in which both the Qing Empire and the West engaged in a similar set of practices to buttress their imperialist aims in Korea.

China, Korea, Transregional