PhD 2021 (History and East Asian Languages) Harvard University
Historiography, history of the book, print culture, manuscript culture, printing technology, reading, archives, translation
I am a cultural and intellectual historian of early modern Korea with interests in the production and circulation of knowledge, the history of the book, and historiography.
My book manuscript, Material Historiography: The Official Histories of Koryŏ from Their Compilation to the Present, examines the production, circulation, reception of two court histories treating the Koryŏ dynasty (918–1392), the History of Koryŏ and the Essentials of Koryŏ History, from their contested compilation in the early Chosŏn period (1392–1910) to their effective canonization in a plethora of modern editions and databases in our digital present. Drawing on material bibliography, I examine over one hundred call numbers of Chosŏn-era copies of the History and the Essentials held in institutions in Korea and Japan, and analyze their physical features, track ownership marks and seals, and study marginal notes left by readers to uncover the material history of these two historical works. I further track the reproduction of the two histories in numerous print and digital formats and show how tools of Chosŏn’s dynastic legitimacy were transformed into cultural heritage. In so doing, I illuminate practices of scholarship and historiography in early modern Korea and reveal an untold history of circulation and reception of the two histories concealed by the radical changes in media in the twentieth century. Arguing that media and scholarly practices such as notetaking and marginalia were (and are) just as important to the reading and writing of history as high philosophy, I illuminate the changing significance of Koryŏ history from the Chosŏn era to the present, show how the two court histories on Koryŏ—and their material form—influenced the practice of historiography and historical scholarship over time, and encourage reflection on what history actually was and is.
My second project is an investigation into Chosŏn Korea’s state-dominated and heavily non-commercial publishing economy, where woodblock, movable type, and handwriting were all viable methods of making books. It seeks to understand how Chosŏn people obtained their books in this multi-media and non-commercial textual ecology and examines the gifting, lending, borrowing, and copying of books, from royal presents to donations to school libraries.
I received my B.A. in Asian Area Studies from the University of British Columbia and hold an M.A. in Korean History from the Academy of Korean Studies and a Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University. Prior to coming to the University of Chicago, I was a Korea Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Yale University.
“Royal Typographic Sublime: Discourse on Movable Type in Early Modern Korea (1392–1910).” Accepted by the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies.
“Facsimiles of Yore: Printing Technology and the Page Image in the Japanese Government General of Korea’s Reproduction of Historical Sources,” Modern Asian Studies (2023): 1–38.
"Culling Archival Collections in the Koryŏ-Chosŏn Transition," Journal of Korean Studies 24, no. 2, (2019): 225–53.