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The 2017 Kim Dae-Jung Lecture in Korean Studies

"Plazas of Candlelight: Understanding the History of Street Protests in South Korean Democracy"

Prof. Hongkoo Han, SungKongHoe University

Friday, 27th January, 2017 at 5pm in the Umney Theatre, Robinson College

The current political scandal in South Korea has demonstrated the positive and negative sides of South Korean democracy. On the negative side is the behind-the-scenes influence of Choi Soon-sil; on the positive are the candlelight street protests that contributed to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. This lecture attempts to put these two sides in historical perspective. It will examine the consequences of rapid industrialization and democratization and the achievements and limitations of the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo Hyun presidencies. The aim is to provide an understanding of why South Korean citizens have engaged in such large-scale street protests and evaluate whether a new democratic force can emerge to overcome current conservative dominance.

Han HongkooHongkoo Han teaches in the Department of Liberal Arts in SungKongHoe University in Seoul, Korea. He is a graduate of the Department of National History at Seoul National University and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Washington. He is one of the most prominent activist scholars in South Korea today and a popular interpreter of South Korean history to a wide audience. Through numerous books including the four-volume History of South Korea (Daehan Minguksa) and The Judiciary: The History of Those Under the Rule of Law (Sabeopbu), he has explored the violent and traumatic aspects of life under military dictatorship, interrogating their causes and bringing the victims' stories to light. He wrote a weekly column in the Hangyore newspaper for many years and has served on the board of several civic organizations as well as serving on the committee investigating the abuses of the intelligence services during the dictatorship period.

For further information, contact:

Dr Michael D. Shin
Lecturer in Korean Studies
Robinson College
Grange Road
Cambridge,  CB3 9AN