The Soul of Seoul, Seoul Studies
The Soul of Seoul, Seoul Studies
  • Kim Jung Jiwon
  • 승인 2010.05.08 00:18
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On March 9, 2010, the Seoul studies international symposium took place at the History Lecture in Seoul Museum of Hall under the title 'The Power and Class of Seoul City Center.'  Have you ever heard about these studies of cities?  There are a study and an institute which have recorded almost all of Seoul's variation of places, people, works, and cultures.  The Sookmyung Times (SMT) asked Park, Hi-Yong (PARK) who is Head Researcher of The Institute of Seoul studies about Seoul studies and the study institution of it.





What is Seoul studies?
Seoul studies is a study which researches deep into the city of Seoul.  Its purpose is determining the urban universality and distinctiveness of Seoul.  To approach to the purpose, Seoul studies has researched the course of making Seoul's multidirectional changes.  It holds a comprehensive viewpoint and aims at theoretical education.

Which Institutes Have Researched about Seoul studies?
In 1993, The Institute of Seoul studies was affiliated with the University Of Seoul under support of the Seoul Metropolis for promoting and spreading Seoul studies.  After this institute was established, Seoul studies symposium was held periodically from 2003 until now.  In these regular symposiums, the recorded information from 1867 to 2010 physical change and history of Seoul City Center's Historic-Culture heritages were carried.


SMT  Please give an explanation about how the Seoul studies began, its present direction, and its future aims.


PARK  In 1994, Seoul celebrated its 600th anniversary marking its appearance as the capital of the Joseon Dynasty.  To commemorate this, academia and civil society including the City of Seoul prepared for holding celebrations.  However, at that very moment, they ran into the problem of defining Seoul's identity.  The question of 'What is the real Seoul?' was asked.  Based on the demand of the time, The Institute of Seoul studies was established affiliation with the University Of Seoul under the purpose of understanding and progressing Seoul.  This Area Studies which stood on a history of Seoul's two thousand years has been studied until now.  It began from establishing this institution in Seoul, and spread to other cities.  For example Busan, Incheon, and Daegu founded each city's Area studies institution through the help of each metropolitan council.  In addition, in China, there were also founded The Institute of Pekingology in Beijing Union University modeling after The Institute of Seoul studies.  So, we have endeavored to improve our academic efforts for reinforcing the status as the birthplace of Area studies.  Since the institution was set up, we have had regular conferences, annual symposiums, and diverse forms of academic functions, totaling forty seven.  With this, we have pursued interdisciplinary research embracing Humanities and Place studies for keeping pace with the trend of area globalization.


SMT  If there are ways which we can let university students be interested in and come close to Seoul Studies, what should they do?

PARK  We offered total 305 public lectures through operating Culture University for Seoul citizens from 1993 to 1997.  In 1997, the Academy of Continuing Education was founded by cooperation of The city of Seoul and University Of Seoul for Seoul citizens' emotional cultivation and knowledge development.  In this Academy, people can learn Seoul studies through the four curriculums; 'Seoul's historic attraction pilgrimage,' 'Exploring museums located in Seoul,' 'Analysis and understanding about Han River's culture.'  All Seoul citizens can register for courses.


Concerned Books

1) 'Former Seoul Through Watching Pictures'

This book gathered around Seouls valuable visual materials together.  It held Seoul's various worth an abundant cultural heritages.  By showing old Seouls extremely changed beautiful sceneries, it assists reader to feel the world of spirit and life of ancestors.

2) 'The 20th Century Seouls Modern History Through the Lifetime of Residents'

This book said that real historical aspects could be found in actual living.  So, it dealt with 'human-centered' Seoul's history.  It provided the vivid various appearances of Seoul's life of at that time by interviewing the living stories of four ordinary people.  Readers can experience the actual 20th century Seoul through detailed records of each four people's life.

- All these books were written by The Institute of Seoul studies.
- All these books were possessed in Main Library of SMU.

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