Andrew M. Logie (Helsinki)
24 April 2020
South Korean pseudohistory of early Northeast Asia imagines ancient Korea as an expansive continental empire centered on Manchuria, its territory further incorporating much of China, with still deeper origins located in a prehistoric “lost civilization.” Framed against recent history wars with China, authors of pseudohistory interweave an emotive polemic denouncing the academic establishment as national traitors who promote colonial-era Japanese historiography to the detriment of Korea and benefit of China.
During 2014-2015, this popular discourse gained enough influence within the National Assembly to impact critical scholarship, causing the termination of two major projects, the international Early Korea Project and a domestically developed digital historical atlas. Under an atmosphere of rightwing historical revisionism and rumours of government blacklists the initial response from academics was silence. Within a couple of years, however, a series of critiques authored by a mix of emergent generation and peripheral scholars, appeared in popular history format, deconstructing the claims of pseudohistorians and exposing their problematic origins.
This talk surveys the framing of these counter-critiques while questioning if the tide can ever fully turn.
Andrew M. LOGIE, PhD, is assistant professor of Korean Studies at the University of Helsinki. His research interests include popular historiography of northern East Asia, comparative and world history approaches to early Korea and mainland Southeast Asia, and 20th century Korean cultural history. A graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, he completed his doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki with a postdoctoral period spent at Leiden University. He is currently researching the intersectionality of Korean new religion and pseudohistory.