SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

Patrick Kilkelly

BSc (Bristol), MA (SOAS, University of London)
  • Overview


Patrick Kilkelly
Patrick Kilkelly
Thesis title:
How did Confucianism influence early Korean Catholicism?
Year of Study:
Started in 2013
Internal Supervisors


I was born in Ireland and grew up in Cambridgeshire. After graduating from the University of Bristol in 2005 with a degree in Social Work I worked in the social care sector. In 2008 I began teaching English at a middle school in Busan in Korea, where I quickly became interested in the peninsula’s language and culture – in particular the late Chosŏn period (from 1700 onwards). After completing an MA in Korean Studies at SOAS in 2012-2013, I'm now undertaking an MPhil in the same subject and hope to continue my studies to PhD level.

PhD Research

My research concentrates on early Catholicism in Korea, with a particular focus towards applying inculturation theory in a way which recognises Korean society's infuence on the incoming belief system. Previous studies of the subject have tended to deal with western influence on Korea's Confucian-based society, and my hope is to recognise and discuss the flow of influence in the opposing direction: how did Confucian worldviews shape the expression and understanding of Catholicism? My period of study dates from 1784, when the first Korean was baptised into the Catholic church, to 1886, when France and Korea signed a treaty which gave the first official recognition to Catholicism as a religion.