Reflections on Contemporary Korea
David I. Steinberg
transformation of the Republic of Korea from an impoverished state to a leading
industrialized nation has been spectacular, but it has also masked the
continuities of Korean society and culture. For more than four decades, David
I. Steinberg has been observing Korea, and is uniquely qualified to write on
the evolution of modern Korea. As the resident representative of The Asia
Foundation in 1963-68 and then again in 1994-98, he has been a participant in
and close observer of the Korean scene.
His trenchant comments on a broad spectrum of Korean life and mores
illuminate many aspects of Korean society most often ignored in both the
academic and popular literature. The short essays selected for this volume come
from the over 230 columns he has published in the Korea Times since 1995. They present a series of vignettes on the
cultural, socioeconomic, and political life of Korea today.
Trained first in Chinese studies and then in Southeast
Asian history, Steinberg has lived in a variety of Asian countries over the
past 17 years. He brings to this book a
comparative focus that provides deeper perspective on Korean affairs. Because
he personally experienced Korea at both an early stage of its growth and a much
later period, he is able to report changes in the society in a manner that few
other foreigners have been able to do.
Mores and Customs - (31
columns, with “On Harvest Festivals and Chusok”and “On ‘Roasts’ and ‘Face’”).
Ceremonies and Traditions - (8 columns, with “On ‘Black Is the Color
of My True Love’s Car’” and “On the Seriousness of Humor”).
Food and Hospitality - (7 columns, with “On Food and
Reciprocity” and “On Eating and Globalization”).
and Aesthetic - (11
columns, with “On Pyeo-Rice” and “On
Sex and the Color of Nature”).
Media - (13 columns, with
“On Elites and Universities” and “On Academics as a Contact Sport”).
Politics - (16 columns, with “On Hard and
Soft Power” and “On Gregory Henderson — An Appreciation”).
Relations - (10 columns, with “On Negotiating” and “On ‘Rogue’ and
Other States of Concern” ).
North Korea - (3 columns, with “On North Korean Tourism and the Environment”).
International Relations - (5 columns, with
“On Korea and Japanese Influence” and “On Nationalism and the IMF”).
Epilogue - (4 columns, with “On the Usefulness of Foreigners” and “On Korea
in the 21st Century: Recommendations for the Future”)
David I. Steinberg, Director of Asian Studies and previously
Distinguished Professor of Korean Studies, School of Foreign Service,
Georgetown University, was formerly a member of the Senior Foreign Service,
USAID, Department of State; President of the Mansfield Center of Pacific
Affairs; and the representative of The Asia Foundation in Korea, as well as
Burma, Hong Kong, and Washington. He was educated at Dartmouth College, Lingnan
University (China), Harvard University, and the School of Oriental and African
Studies, University of London.
EastBridge Signature Books 2002 298 pages
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