Hwansoo I. Kim
  • Hwansoo I. Kim

  • Associate Professor
  • Asian & Middle Eastern Studies
  • 118 Gray Building
  • Campus Box 90964
  • Phone: (919) 660-3500
  • Office Hours: On leave
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Bio

  • Other

    HWANSOO ILMEE KIM (2009) received his Ph.D. in the colonial history of Korean and Japanese Buddhism from Harvard University in 2007. He has a BA in the history of East Asian Buddhism and Yogacara philosophy from Dongguk University in Seoul, Korea (1996) and received his master’s in Buddhism and the sociology and theory of religion at Harvard Divinity School (2002). Before joining Duke, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard's Reischauer Institute (2007) and assistant professor at the University of Arizona (2008). Professor Kim’s primary research concerns Korean Buddhism in the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries in the context of colonialism, imperialism, and modernity. His broader scholarship includes East Asian religions, the modernization of Buddhism, monasticism, clerical marriage, rituals, and ethics. Recent articles, among others, are "The Adventures of a Japanese Monk in Colonial Korea: Sōma Shōei’s Zen Training with Korean Masters" (2008); “'The Future of Korean Buddhism Lies in My Hands': Takeda Hanshi as a Sōtō Missionary" (2010); “A Buddhist Colonialism?: A New Perspective on the Korean Wŏnjong and Japanese Sōtōshū’s 1910 Attempted Alliance” (2010). He recently completed his book titled Strategic Alliances: the Dynamic Relationship between Korean and Japanese Buddhism, 1877–1912 (forthcoming Harvard Asia Center 2011). The book brings to light that Korean monks, aware of the political, economic, and social stature of Japanese Buddhist missionaries, strategically allied themselves with Japanese sects to further their personal and institutional aims. This revision also highlight how Christianity, as a significant other, informed Korean and Japanese Buddhists’ approach to institutional structures, foreign missionary efforts, and modernity.
  • Specialties

    • Korean
  • Education

      • PhD,
      • Harvard University,
      • 2007
      • MTS,
      • Harvard Divinity School,
      • 2002
      • BS,
      • Dongguk University,
      • 1996
  • Awards, Honors and Distinctions

      • National Humanities Center Fellowship,
      • March, 2014-2015
      • Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professorship,
      • Dean of Arts and Sciences,
      • July, 2012-2013
  • Recent Publications

      • Nakanishi Naoki.
      • "Colonial Korea and Japanese Buddhism (Chōsen Shokuminichi to Nihon Bukkyō)."
      • Japanese Religions Journal
      • (May, 2015)
      • .
      • H.I. Kim.
      • "'The Mystery of the Century’: Lay Buddhist Monk Villages (Chaegasŭngch’on) Near Korea’s Northernmost Border, 1600s–1960s."
      • Seoul Journal of Korean Studies
      • 26
      • .2
      • (April, 2014)
      • :
      • 269-305.
      Publication Description

      This article examines the history of the villages of lay monks (chaegasŭng) near North Korea’s northernmost border. These communities had been ignored for centuries until they suddenly became the object of scholarly and public attention when Korea fell under Japanese colonial rule (1910–1945). The men of the villages were called “lay monks.” They shaved their heads, had wives and children, and had more than one ethnic identity. Despite the sizable number of lay monk villages in this region, their long history and, more importantly, their monastic identity and Buddhist lifestyle, narratives about these communities are almost absent in the historiography of Korean Buddhism. The absence of a written history is ascribed to that historiography’s privileged focus on the influential figures, doctrines, texts, and schools that contributed to the protection of the state. Colonial experiences and national divisions have reinforced these elite- and nation-centered narratives about Korean Buddhism to the exclusion of its more pluralistic, local dimensions on the periphery. If the history of these lay monk communities is understood within the context of Chosŏn Buddhism (1392–1910) placed under the Neo-Confucian hegemony of the Chosŏn dynasty, then clearly the existence of these communities is not an anomaly developed independently, but instead is an integral part of Korean Buddhism.

      • H.I. Kim.
      • "Social Stigmas of Buddhist Monastics and the Lack of Lay Buddhist Leadership in Colonial Korea (1910–1945)."
      • Korea Journal
      • 26
      • .2
      • (February, 2014)
      • :
      • 269-305.
      Publication Description

      One of the key characteristics of Buddhism during the late nineteenth century through the first half of the twentieth century was the rise of lay leadership in all aspects of Buddhist tradition. East Asian Buddhism was no exception to this trend, but the ways, degree, and timing in which this modern phenomenon manifested itself varied, especially in the case of Korean Buddhism, which saw a late arrival of lay leadership. This article addresses the question of why lay Buddhism struggled to emerge as a strong force in Korea compared to China and Japan. Without a doubt, colonialism was a key factor. Japanese rule disrupted the development of the Korean Buddhist sangha. However, another key factor that has been underestimated in the historiography of Korean Buddhism is that Korean monks were socially stigmatized during the colonial period (1910–1945). The rhetoric of stigmatism was so ubiquitous in the personal writings of monks and lay people, as well as in journals and newspapers in colonial Korea, that it begs a closer analysis to determine a correlation between the perception of monks in society at this time and its influence on the development of lay Buddhism in Korea. Thus, I would like to provide a preliminary explanation of this correlation by highlighting three interrelated aspects of Korean monastics in colonial Korea: (1) the stigmatization imposed on Korean monastics during the Neo-Confucian Joseon dynasty; (2) the persistence of these stigmas in the minds of Koreans; and (3) their internalization among Korean monastics themselves.

      • H.I. Kim.
      • "Seeking the Colonizer’s Favors for A Buddhist Vision: The Korean Buddhist Nationalist Paek Yongsŏng’s (1864–1940) Imje Sŏn Movement and His Relationship with the Japanese Colonizer Abe Mitsuie (1862–1936)."
      • Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies (SJEAS),
      • 14
      • .2
      • (October, 2014)
      • :
      • 171-193.
      Publication Description

      In this article, I will challenge the widely accepted, yet one-dimensional, image of Paek as a staunch nationalist and argue that he prioritized his modern Buddhist vision over the all- encompassing, nationalist goal, and thus was willing to curry favor with the politically and religiously powerful Abe Mitsuie. In a desperate effort to unify Korean Buddhism under the Imje Zen lineage, Paek deemed Abe an ally and approached him to seek influence on the colonial government in favor of Paek’s version of institutional reform. The fact that Paek sought political favors from Abe not only contradicts the immaculate nationalist status devoutly attributed to him by some scholars of modern Korean Buddhism, but also attests to the complex colonial realities that prompted Koreans and Japanese alike to employ multiple visions and identities, including religious, around which they could build personal and group networks. Equally importantly, their collaboration also reflects a larger religious landscape of colonial Korea in which Zen Buddhism emerged as a modern, alternative religion for Japan and Korea.

      • Kim Iryop (trans. by Jin Park).
      • "Reflections of a Zen Buddhist Nun: Essays by Zen Master Kim Iryop."
      • H-Buddhism
      • (July, 2014)
      • .
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  • PhD Students

    • Mani Rao
      • 2013-present
    • Jeffrey Nicholaisen
      • 2013-present
    • Seth Ligo
      • 2013 - present
    • Yeongjin Cho
      • 2011 - present
    • Uri Kaplan
      • 2010 - present
    • Jeff Schroeder
      • 2009 - present
    • Matthew Mitchell
      • 2009 - present
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