Korean Peninsula Affairs Center

National Narrative on Historiography and Why They Are Different: The Case of Korean in the 21st Century

November 6, 2012
100 Eggers Hall

If one were to ask an average, college-educated Korean about the major factors and trends in Korean history, it is likely one would hear a narrative about war, chaos, and invasions as the dominant themes of Korean history. The narrative of multiple invasions by multiple countries is particularly striking. But recent historiography is painting a completely different picture. Periods of war were relatively few, and the intervening spans of peace were long. Dynasties in Korea were long-lasting and transitions between dynasties were remarkably smooth. Other evidence shows that the historiography of the Twenty-first Century is coming up 180 degrees different from the national narrative of the Twentieth Century.

Mark Peterson received his B.A. in Asian Studies and Anthropology from Brigham Young University in 1971. He received his M.A. in 1973 and his Ph.D. in 1987, both from Harvard University in the field of East Asian Languages and Civilization. Prior to coming to BYU in 1984 he was the director of the Fulbright program in Korea from 1978 to 1983. He also served as the President of the Korea Pusan Mission from 1987 to 1990. He has been the coordinator of the Asian Studies Program and was the director of the undergraduate programs in the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. He is currently the head of the Korean section of the department.

You can learn more about Professor Mark Peterson here.