Historical Background, Objectives and Goals
Yonsei University, one of the oldest modern institutions of higher learning in Korea, has a long history of research in modern Korean studies, dating back to the early years of this century. In 1997, the Institute for Modern Korean Studies (IMKS) was established as an affiliate of the university's Graduate School of International Studies to carry on this tradition in research.
The establishment of the institute was made possible to a large degree by the creation of an endowment with a multi-billion-won fund provided by the Samsung Group the donation of a spacious and attractive private mansion for use as institute facility by its owner, Ms. Song-Ok Choi and her brother, Mr. Pyong-Seul Choi; and by the acquisition of private papers of the late Dr. Syngman Rhee, the first president of the Republic of Korea, which had been in the custody of Dr. Insoo Rhee, the late president's adopted son, at the Ihwajang.
The IMKS seeks to: (1) enhance and improve the overall quality of scholarly research in modern Korean studies; (2) encourage the development of fresh views on and deeper insight into modern Korean history, culture, and society, based on "Korean perspective"; (3) promote active exchange among Korean studies specialists at home and abroad. In addition, the institute supports the educational programs and activities of the university's Graduate School of International Studies by sponsoring open English-language lectures on Korean studies, publishing scholarly works in English in Korean studies, and by providing fellowships, including the Samsung Korean Studies Fellowship, to qualified students.
The principal objective of the institute is to organize, direct, and support research in modern Korean political history, the development of Korean entrepreneurship, Protestant missionary work in Korea, Korean-American relations, and the modern Korean student, agrarian, and labor movements, and as well the development of modern Korean thought.
Principal Fields of Research
Modern Korean Political History
Research in Korean politics and government from the late nineteenth century through the present with the aim of developing creative theses based on new approaches and fresh ideas from "Korean perspectives".
Modern Korean Entrepreneurial History
Research investigating and analyzing the origins and growth patterns of major modern Korean business enterprises and the significance of the role they have played in the development of economy, society, and culture in contemporary Korea.
History of Korean-American Relations
Research aimed at gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding of Korean-American relations through study of major American activities, including Protestant missionary work in Korea.
Student, Agrarian, and Labor Movement
Research on the evolution of student activism, the peasant and labor movement; their impact upon society, economy and culture in modern Korea.
Modern Korean Thought
Research to trace and analyze the evolution of modern Korean thought through a study of the lives and writings of major political and intellectual leaders.
Prof. Kim, Michael
Professor of Korean Studies
Graduate School of International Studies