The Political and Social Role of Confucian Thoughts in Koryŏ Dynasty (10th-14th Centuries)

Key information

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Virtual Event

About this event

Soojin Hyun (Sungkyunkwan University)
Sŏnggyun'gwan located in Kaesŏngshi, North Korea. Sŏnggyun'gwan was the national school of Koryŏ dynasty established in 992. Confucian texts were taught to the intellectuals to prepare for Kwagŏ civil examination. This building was destroyed during the Imjin War (1592-1598), but it was rebuilt in 1610. It is currently being used as the Koryŏ Museum in today's North Korea. (Image Source: Wikipedia)


How did bureaucrats as intellectuals ruling Koryŏ dynasty (918~1392 C.E.) shape their political thoughts to govern the country and what kinds of thoughts influenced them? This talk will try to find the answer. Koryŏ dynasty located on the Korean peninsula is generally regarded as a Buddhist society. Of course, people of Koryŏ dynasty lived their lives practising Buddhism, however, Taoism and Shamanism influenced their life as well. Nevertheless, in terms of political thoughts and actual political affairs, they were greatly influenced by Confucianism. Bureaucrats of Koryŏ dynasty chose Han and Tang periods’ Confucian thought as their political ideology and tried to rule the country based on these thoughts in their own way. On the contrary, the people of Chosŏn dynasty, established right after Koryŏ dynasty in 1392, opted for Neo-Confucianism to rule the country. I will argue Koryŏ was ruled based on Han and Tang’s Confucian thought emphasising King’s strong power and authority towards his subjects creating a harmonious relationship between them. Through this talk, we can explore how specific Confucian thoughts influenced the Korean medieval ages, what was the relationship between the political thoughts and the actual political situation, and how those thoughts were transformed according to the historical transition.

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The Political and Social Role of Confucian Thoughts in Koryŏ Dynasty (10th-14th Centuries)

Speaker Biography

Soojin Hyun is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Sungkyunkwan University, Republic of Korea, where she completed her BA and MA. She has been studying the intellectual history of Koryŏ dynasty (918~1392 C.E.) with a special focus on Confucian political thought based on The Five Confucian Classics (五經), its utilisation and role in the given period. She has published several papers in authorized journals in Korea, such as the Journal of Korean Medieval History. She would like to learn more about Confucianism during one year of research (Sep 2021 – Aug 2022) at SOAS as a visiting scholar.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Korean Studies

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