The Myth of the Survival of the Fittest (Original title: Usǔngyǒlp'ae ǔi sinhwa: Korean), Seoul, Hangyoreh Publishers, 2005, 512 p.
The book is one of the first ever monographic works in Korean dealing with the process of introduction and indigenization of the Social Darwinist visions of society, history, and culture in early modern Korea, basically between 1883 and 1910, although a substantial part of the book is devoted to the Social Darwinist underpinnings of the colonial period's right-wing nationalism (An Ch'angho, Yi Kwangsu), and attempts to overcome the limitations of the Social Darwinist worldviews on the part of some influential thinkers of the "progressive nationalist" camp (Han Yongun and his "Buddhist socialism"). The book traces the first introduction of Social Darwinist visions of the universal "struggle for survival" to the first Koreans to be enrolled in regular university education in Japan and USA, namely Yu Kiljun and Yun Ch'iho (1880s-1890s), then highlights the importance of bilingual Tongnip Sinmun (The Independent - 1896-99) in popularization of the Social Darwinism-based ideals of "progress" and "civilization", and shows how one of the Meiji Japan versions of Social Darwinist view of society (Katō Hiroyuki), introduced by Liang Qichao to the Korean reformist intellectuals of the 1900s, decisively shaped the horizons of the Social Darwinist modernity in Korea. It also deals extensively with the influence exerted by the Social Darwinist Weltanschauung onto the Pan-Asianist visions of Korea's early modern intellectuals.

I Indict the Century of Violence (Original title: Na nǔn p'ongnyǒk ǔi segi rǔl kobalhanda), Seoul, Inmul kwa sasang Publishers, 2005, 382 p.
This monograph represents a collection of popularized essays on Korea's modern and contemporary history I serialized in the monthly Inmul kwa sasang in 2004-2005. Most of the essays deal with the modern South Korean attitudes towards the violent and intrusive institutional representations of the dominant modernity forms - the views on the army, police force, obligatory physical training in the schools, and obligatory education in general being paid the closest attention. The book concludes that these attitudes display a self-contradictory interplay of Social-Darwinist approval/admiration of "our nation's strength" and simultaneous anxiety about the violent or/and discriminative nature of the modern institutions in Korea. For example, only minority thinks seriously about a shift towards an all-volunteer military force, the majority still viewing the 700.000-strong conscript army as the embodiment of "national might". But at the same time, most would prefer their children/relatives to escape the draft - which usually entails systemized bullying and other forms of abuse - if they can. This sort of discrepancy may be explained as representing a contradiction between more generalized, conceptualized societal thinking, heavily influenced by the establishmentarian propaganda, and the realm of direct, personal and micro-collective (family) experience.

The History that Betrayed the “I” (Original title: Na rŭl paebanhan yŏksa: Korean), Seoul, Inmul kwa sasang Publishers, 2003, 354 p.
The book is a stylistically popularized academic narrative based mainly on Korea’s early modern primary sources. It deals with the understanding of "individuality" in the discourse of Korean modernity. The main point made by the author is that Korea's modern discourses were largely underpinned by Social Darwinist collectivism, and “individuality” was understood mostly instrumentally, as just one of the preconditions for attaining state/society-related collectivist goals.

Academic articles:

“Fascinating and Dangerous: Japan in Korea's Enlightenment Thought in the 1900s”. Papers of the British Association For Korean Studies, Vol. 10, 2005, pp. 211-233

“The 1890s Korean Reformers' View of Japan - A Menacing Model? “. The International Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 2, Issue 1, 2005, pp. 57-81

“'Him ǔrosǒǔi 'chayu': Yang Kyech'o ǔi kangkwǒnnonjǒk 'chayuron' kwa kuhanmal ǔi chisǒnggye” ('Freedom' as 'Strength' - Liang Qichao's Social Darwinist Interpretation of 'Freedom' in his 1896-1903 Works and Korean Intelligentsia of the 1900s) . Han'guk Minjok Undongsa Yǒn'gu, Vol. 39, 2004, pp. 237-296

“World is a Battlefield: Social Darwinism as the New World Model of Korean Intelligentsia of the 1990s”. Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung, Vol. 27,2003, pp. 81-106

“Korea's First Encounters with Pan-Asianism Ideology in the Early 1880s”, Review of Korean Studies Vol. 5, No. 2, 2002, pp. 195-232

“The Experience of Importing and Translating a Semantic System: 'Civilization', 'West', and Russia in the English and Korean Editions of The Independent”, Han'guk Minjok Undongsa Yeon'gu, Vol. 32, 2002, pp. 57-103

"Social Darwinism in Korea and its Influence on Early Modern Korean Buddhism", International Journal of Korean History, Vol. 2, 2001, pp. 65-99

Published May 20, 2010 1:58 PM - Last modified May 20, 2010 2:00 PM