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Social Darwinism and Nationalism in Korea – the Beginnings, 1883-1910 (completed)

How was Social Darwinist thought introduced to members of the radical reformist group in Korea between the early 1880s and 1910?

About the project

The objective of the research is to compile a coherent, full history of the introduction and early development of Social Darwinism in Korea, primarily between the early 1880s and 1910. The focus of the project is drawing a complete picture of

  • how a group of Korea’s reformist intellectuals became first aware of Social Darwinism
  • how European, American, Japanese and Chinese (primarily, Liang Qichao’s) versions of Social Darwinist thought were appropriated and used in the particular Korean contexts, and
  • how the dominance of Social Darwinism was first questioned by certain “heterodox” modernists, who attempted to synthesize the radical Western trends with either Buddhism or Confucianism.


The aim of the project is to publish a monograph on Social Darwinism in Korea, 1880s-1910. The book  will be published by Brill (Netherlands) before the end of 2010.

Then, the project will be succeeded by a new project - researches in Social Darwinism-inspired nationalist ideology of the Japanese colonial time (1910-1945)

Read more about the project

Published Apr. 29, 2010 2:34 PM - Last modified Dec. 8, 2016 1:50 PM