우물 안 개구리

8/10/2006

James B. Palais (1934-2006)

Filed under: — Owen @ 7:30 pm Print

I was very saddened to hear that Professor James Palais has died. Everyone in the world of Korean history will have heard of him and anyone who has read any of his books and papers will know that his scholarship was at a level that leaves you in awe just a few pages in. Unfortunately, many of us at a relatively early stage in our studies will never have the opportunity to meet Professor Palais.

There is a rather perfunctory obituary from Yonhap. Hopefully there will be something more substantial soon via the Korean Studies discussion list which I will post here.

UPDATES:
Obituary from the Northwest Asian Weekly
Obituary in the Seattle Times

In the spirit of cross-linking, back-linking or something like that, here’s Antti’s post on the death of James Palais, which links here and also includes more interesting links to obituaries and the personal reflections of people that knew him.

Below is a probably rather incomplete bibliography for James Palais, gleaned from the Korean History Bibliography:

Palais, James B. “Political Leadership in the Yi Dynasty.” In Dae-sook Suh and Chae-jin Lee, eds. Political Leadership in Korea. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1976.

_____________. “Han Yong-u’s Studies of Early Choson Intellectual History.” The Journal of Korean Studies 2 (1980): 199-224.

_____________. “Land Tenure in Korea: Tenth to Twelfth Centuries.” The Journal of Korean Studies 4 (1982-1983): 73-205.

_____________. “Slavery and Slave Society in the Koryo Period.” The Journal of Korean Studies 5 (1984): 173-190.

_____________. “Confucianism and the Aristocratic/Bureaucratic Balance in Korea.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 44:2 (December 1984): 427-468.

_____________. Politics and Policy in Traditional Korea. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992.

_____________. “Political Leadership and the Yangban in the Choson Dynasty.” Etudes Thematiques: La Societe Civile face a l’Etat dans Les Traditions Chinoise, Japonaise, Coreenne et Vietnaiennnes 3 (1994): 391-408.

_____________. “A Search for Korean Uniqueness.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 55:2 (December 1995): 409-425.

_____________. Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions: Yu Hyongwon and the Late Choson Dynasty. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996.

_____________. Views on Korean Social History. Seoul: Institute for Modern Korean Studies, 1998.

_____________. “Nationalism: Good or Bad?” In Hyung Il Pai and Timothy R. Tangherlini, eds. Nationalism and the Construction of Korean Identity. Berkeley: Center for Korean Studies, Institute of East Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1998.

_____________. “Confucianism and Economic Development in South Korea” In Benjamin A. Elman, John B. Duncan, and Herman Ooms, eds, Rethinking Confucianism. Past and Present in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, pp. 489-517. UCLA Asian Monograph Series, Los Angeles, 2002.

And to show that his concerns were not only with premodern history, he recently wrote a foreword for this book:

Unbroken Spirits: Nineteen Years in South Korea’s Gulag. Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.

5 Responses to “James B. Palais (1934-2006)”

  1. This is also a quite recently published article:

    “Confucianism and Economic Development in South Korea” In Benjamin A. Elman, John B. Duncan, and Herman Ooms, eds, Rethinking Confucianism. Past and Present in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, pp. 489-517. UCLA Asian Monograph Series, Los Angeles, 2002.

  2. Owen says:

    Thanks Antti, I’ve added it to the main post.

  3. Gerry Bevers says:

    Writing a forward is not the same as writing a book. It looks as if the Amazon site is taking advantage of Mr. Palais’ good name rather than giving credit the author.

  4. Owen says:

    Yes, it is a bit strange that he comes up as the author on the Amazon page for that book, but I’m guessing that’s just a bit of confusion on the part of Amazon rather than a deliberate ploy.

  5. Sibbi says:

    Dr. Palais had nothing to do with how Amazon.com advertises and
    was surely unaware of it. I think the point trying to be made here is
    that he cared greatly about human rights in Korea and elsewhere in
    the world.
    He traveled to Korea in the mid-eighties to investigate and report
    on the state of human rights.
    It is typical that a web page meant as a memorial has some type of
    comment like that to detract from a great man and his work.

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