Minutes of the General Meeting of the Committee on Korean Studies, NEAC, 2014

Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference, Philadelphia

March 29, 2014

Chair: Kelly Jeong

Introduction of the Steering Committee

  •  Outgoing members: Kelly Jeong (chair), Sem Vermeesch
  • Continuing members: George Kallender (chair-elect), Youngju Ryu (secretary), Koen de Ceuster
  • New members: Don Baker, Wayne Patterson


Website Updates

  • The website was set up under Hwasook Nam’s leadership and maintained by the University of Hawaii until 3 years ago. At the general mtg in 2013, Ned Schulz had agreed to look into whether it might be a possible for Hawaii to resume site maintenance. Ned Schulz was not in attendance and nothing was confirmed on that score.
  • Sem Vermeesch reported that the site broke down 2 months ago. He managed to put the site back together again but the original design was destroyed in the process.
  • Last year’s discussion about making the site more functional by adding job announcements and teaching resources hasn’t been implemented. At the moment, the site performs very basic functions only.
  • We have a budget of $550 to spend on the website, which might be spent on a work-study student if a tech-savvy person could be recruited as the webmaster. Xavier Cha might be approached.
  • Other possibilities were discussed including piggyback off of other Korean Studies site; enlist the help of various managers of Korean Studies listservs.


Journal of Asian Studies Editor’s Report

  • Only two Korean Studies articles were published last year in the Journal of Asian Studies. This represents 6.06% of the articles in the journal. We need to come up with strategies for mentoring and assisting junior colleagues to get published.


Report on NEAC

  • Kelly Jeong attended the annual NEAC meeting as ex officio member. The committee evaluated fellowship and grant applications. There has been a general decline in quality and quantity of applications, with only 12 submitted this year, very few of which came from graduate students. Several Korean Studies applications were incomplete. It would be advisable to improve communication both about the fellowship opportunities that exist and what goes into a successful application.
  • The problem raised last year about the under-representation of Koreanists in NEAC has not been addressed. Two Koreanists served in NEAC this year: Charles Armstrong (outgoing chair) and Ted Hughes. CKS chair participates as an ex officio member.
  • The new chair should look into the bylaws to confirm the rules regarding Korean Studies representation in NEAC. It may be that the old protection clause may have fallen into disuse because of the success of Koreanists in getting elected in recent years, but we want to make sure to maintain a strong presence in NEAC.


Korean Language Institute at Sungkyunkwan University

  • Ross King made a presentation about a project underway to establish inter-university program in advanced Korean language studies. The project was first initiated 8-9 years ago when CKS formed a subcommittee to explore the possibility of creating a program along the lines of the Stanford IUC programs in Chinese (Taipei, now at Tsinghua University in Beijing) and Japanese (Yokohma). The program would provide training in academic Korean that North American institutions or conventional Korean Language programs in Korea, which focus on communicative competence, do not offer. The subcommittee initially consisted of John Duncan, David McCann, Sohn Ho-min, and Ross King. Ross and John have continued to look for a partner in Korea.
  • The subcommittee explored two different models: Japanese is a free-standing institute not connected to a university, while Chinese is connected to a university and major research institutions. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
  • John and Ross located an excellent partner in Sungkyunkwan University. SKKU is strong in both social science and humanities, and has a particular strength in classical Chinese (with a certificate program in translation of classics). It’s well-situated in Seoul and boasts the support of the Academy of East Asian Studies. Boudewijn Walraven is currently at SKKU.
  • SKKU put money on the table: 72K written into SKKU BK21 budget to help establish IUC in conjunction with CKS.
  • Start-up budget for the first 6 months would be 89K. Institutions can pay annual membership fee of 8K to join. Currently, UCLA, Harvard, USC, and UBC have signed on. Without membership, students would have to pay tuition of 5K for the summer and 15-18K for the year.
  • Director would be appointed from SKKU faculty. Representatives from fee-paying institutions would sit in the executive committee that will oversee the overall management of the program, set policy and curriculum, and hire teachers. To start, we’re looking at 1 full-time and 2 half-time instructors, and half-time director.
  • CKS will provide a non-profit legal umbrella for submitting annual dues.
  • The institute could be launched as early as January of 2015, with 15-20 students. Students will have prerequisite requirement of fourth-level Korean, and receive 20 hours of instruction a week.
  • The project timeline is 7 years, and there are a lot of moving parts at the moment. Those interested in details should email Ross for the latest draft of the proposal.
  • The Committee approved the project. MOU was signed by Hwang Ho-deok from SKKU and Ross King.



  • World Congress of Korean Studies to be held on Nov 4-5 in Hawaii. Panel proposals or individual paper proposals accepted. Those interested should email the Academy of Korean Studies for details. Subsidies available for graduate students to defray travel costs.


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