My name is Remco Breuker. I am very excited to be part of this new weblog on Korean history. I am finishing up a Ph.D. on medieval Korean history, more specifically, the emergence of a nation during the early Koryŏ period (918-1170). My research interest primarily lie in pre-modern Korean history, nation and identity formation, historiography and, more contemporarily, Korean cinema. I am further interested in such things as (the translation of) modern Korean literature, contemporary Korean history and the history of Manchuria.
My background is in Japanese Studies, but already during my MA I leaned more and more towards Korean Studies until I decided to do my Ph.D. on Korean history. I have spent altogether five years in Korea, doing research and pursuing graduate studies in Korean history. I welcome the creation of a blog such as this; to be able to exchange information, research, views and comments on Korean history in an East Asian context will be very stimulating. I strongly believe in approaching Korean history both from within the peninsula and from without. Contemporary political issues, such as Japan’s war past or the Chinese-Korean dispute about the status of the historical legacy of Koguryŏ, make it very clear that none of the East Asian countries can or should be studied in isolation. This is as much true for pre-modern East Asia. Despite the influence of national historical narratives that understandably focus on the own nation, historians should try to avoid an altogether exclusive focus on the nation. This is one of the reasons why I am very interested in frontiers on the Korean peninsula, in particular the northern frontier that for centuries both symbolically and physically separated the states on the Korean peninsula from those in Manchuria.
I am looking forward to becoming a regular contributor to this blog and share and learn as much as possible. The fact that this blog welcomes postings in Korean is, I think, very important. It provides a chance to bring together two academic worlds which regrettably tend to follow rather separate trajectories into closer and more frequent contact. I am very happy to be part of this.