One of the things that I noticed about the materials I used last time I taught Korean history1 is that the texts I chose for my course did not mention, much less discuss in depth, the recently departed Moon Sun Myung‘s Unification Church. The global reach of this uniquely Korean Christian sect would seem to make it a natural topic for discussion, but even works that look in some detail at the religious changes of modern Korean history didn’t address this sect.
The absence was so striking, that I started to wonder if there was some sort of political minefield or cultural taboo at work, or if I had grossly misunderstood the scale and impact of the movement. I haven’t been looking all that hard for answers one way or the other in the two years since, but I certainly would like to have some better sense going in this time.
and I’m scheduled to teach it again in the Spring, in parallel with my Modern Japan course, so it’s on my mind. I’m thinking of adding some literature to the syllabus ↩
Needless to say, the most detailed and positive obituary is from the Washington Times. I subscribed to it by mistake when I started college in 1985, but let it lapse after the free trial period. I read more Jesse Helms editorials in that six weeks than I ever did before or since.
Regarding literature, I’ve never done a Korea class, but I have used
The Dwarf (Modern Korean Fiction) [Paperback]
Se-hui Cho (Author), Ju-Chan Fulton (Author, Translator)
with some success for the problems of rapidly industrializing Asia. I am using a few readings from
Under the Black Umbrella: Voices from Colonial Korea, 1910-1945 [Paperback]
Hildi Kang (Author)
this semester. I will let you know how it goes. (I like the book anyway)