Modern Korean History Told in Museums in Korea

Memory Wars in East Asia II:
Master Narratives of Modern Korean History Told in Museums in Korea

February 26, 2015 @  6:00 PM

Dr. Ken Ruoff, Portland State University
Professor of History and Director of the Center for Japanese Studies

In part 2 of his “Memory Wars in East Asia” series, Dr. Ruoff focuses on the ways that governments and citizenry in the East Asian countries remember their modern histories, particularly the colonial/imperialistic eras.  This lecture analyzes the manner in which exhibits at key museums in and around Seoul ranging from Independence Hall to the newly opened National Museum of Korean Contemporary History portray the modern history of the Republic of Korea (South Korea). According to Ruoff, “Presently in East Asia, there is what might be termed a nasty ‘memory war’ transpiring between countries such as Korea, China, and Japan over how to interpret the past, especially conflicts between these countries, even as individuals in these countries themselves disagree over how to interpret their country’s modern experience.” “When analyzing any historical narrative,” he adds, “it is important to focus not only on what details are present in the narrative, but also on what details are missing, and this is very much the case with the narratives of national history that are presented at heritage sites throughout East Asia.”
Location:  PSU Smith Memorial Student Union 327/8/9
1825 SW Broadway

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