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Dr Michael D. Shin

The intellectual history of Korea in the colonial period
Dr Michael D.  Shin

Lecturer in Korean Studies

Fellow of Robinson College

Office Phone: 01223 335171


After college, I spent two years in Seoul learning Korean, and it was there that I decided to go into Korean Studies.  I entered the MA program in Asian Studies intending to study sociology or anthropology.  For my MA thesis, I did research on the Tongnip sinmun, the first vernacular newspaper in Korea, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to study Korean history instead.  For my Ph.D., I moved to the Department of History at the University of Chicago.  My dissertation examined the emergence of the discourse of the nation through the works of the writer Yi Gwangsu.  During my graduate studies, I spent a total of three years in Korea, and I also spent one year in Japan at the Inter-University Center for Advanced Language Studies.  From 2001, I taught in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University and then moved to Cambridge in fall 2008.

Educational details

1988               BA, Harvard College
1993               MA, University of California at Berkeley
2002               Ph.D., University of Chicago

Subject groups/Research projects

Korean Studies:

Research Interests

My research focuses on the intellectual history of the colonial period.  I am particularly interested in using intellectual history to examine the connections between socioeconomic developments and cultural production.  I have recently completed my first book manuscript, The Specter of Yi Gwangsu:  The March First Movement and the Nation in Colonial Korea, which is currently under review. intellectual history, cultural history, and socioeconomic history of the colonial period (1910-1945)

Other Professional Activities

My second research project focuses on Marxism during the colonial period; particularly on Marxist writings on literature and culture.  I am also currently editing a translation of the book How Did People Live in the Joseon Period?

Key Publications

co-editor (with Pang Kie-chung), Landlords, Peasants, and Intellectuals in Modern Korea (Cornell East Asia Series, 2005).

translation editor, The Dynamics of Confucianism and Modernization in Korean History by Yi Tae-jin (Cornell East Asia Series, 2008).

English editor, Korean History: Fresh Perspectives, a 20-part documentary (KBS Media, forthcoming)