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The Dynamics of Knowledge Circulation

Cases from Korea

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Edited By Eun-Jeung Lee and Marion Eggert

The book is about the evolution and transformation of knowledge and knowledge systems in the context of cultural contact. The articles take Korea as an example and deal with the configuration, dissemination and consolidation of knowledge in certain contexts of the past and present. Combining philological and social scientific approaches, this book is the result of a joint research project of the Korean Studies institutes at Freie Universität Berlin and Ruhr University Bochum pursued between 2009 and 2014.

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Florian Pölking - Technical Knowledge among High Officials in the Late Chosŏn Dynasty – Ŭigwe (儀軌) as Conduit for Construction Expertise?

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Florian Pölking

Technical Knowledge among High Officials in the Late Chosŏn Dynasty – Ŭigwe (儀軌) as Conduit for Construction Expertise?

Abstract Did late Chosŏn dynasty high officials have any specialized technical knowledge, and were they supposed to have or did they show any admiration for technical specialists on the structural level? The genre of ŭigwe might provide answers and open new ways to highlight how specialized construction projects were conducted, and who played what role during the process.

Working on the notion and importance of technical knowledge during the late Chosŏn dynasty almost unavoidably seems to lead to questions about the significance of so-called sirhak (practical learning) and the scholars attributed to it (Chŏng Hyŏng-min/Kim Yŏng-sik 2007: 5f.) However, already in 1998, in Korean science historian Kim Yung-sik’s article “Problems and Possibilities in the Study of the History of Korean Science,” he tried to illustrate the state of research on the history of science of Korea. In his careful analysis, he emphasized outstanding findings as well as weak points of the ongoing research, thereby trying to delineate how particularly Korean historians concentrated on a far too postcolonial way of studying Korean history. While focusing on isolated periods and things that were uniquely Korean, they often seemed to overlook the contextual embedding of their research into the East Asian or world historical context, thus coming to a number of unsubstantiated conclusions. For example, there was the claim...

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