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Integration Processes in the Circulation of Knowledge

Cases from Korea

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Edited By Marion Eggert and Florian Pölking

Korea, geographically situated at cultural crossroads, has a long history of creative engagement with knowledge from outside sources. This volume discusses processes of knowledge integration – of interpretive adaptation, dissection, selection and re-assemblage, of reduction and amplification, as well as of blending with existing cognitive structures – in pre-modern and early modern times. The articles assembled deal with a wide range of sources (including material objects as carriers of knowledge) and with diverse fields of knowledge, spanning the realms of philosophy, religion, literature, military and technical knowledge, and political thought. Together, they richly illustrate the transformative powers inherent in re-configurations of knowledge.
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Eun-Jeung Lee - Yu Kil-chun’s translation of Karl Rathgen’s “Political Science” (Chŏngch’ihak) and its relevance to modern day Korean social science

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Eun-Jeung Lee

Yu Kil-chun’s translation of Karl Rathgen’s “Political Science” (Chŏngch’ihak) and its relevance to modern day Korean social science

Abstract Yu Kil-chun’s translation into Korean of Karl Rathgen’s “Politikwissenschaft” is not faithful to the Japanese version of Rathgen’s book. He dropped entire passages in translating from the Japanese version, while also inserting some passages of his own in other parts of his book. He must have chosen to translate Rathgen’s book, rather than any other book, for a reason. This is the very starting point of this paper.

1 Yu Kil-chun’s “Political Science” (Chŏngch’ihak)—The starting point of modern political science in Korea?

This paper focuses on Yu Kil-chun’s 兪吉濬 originally unpublished manuscript Chŏngch’ihak 政治學 which was ultimately published as part of his collected works. In so far as this manuscript constitutes a partial translation of Karl Rathgen’s Seijigaku 政治學, Yu Kil-chun cannot be considered its original author. Yun Kil-chun’s reasons for translating this book are not immediately apparent. What we do know is that in 1892, Japanese students of Rathgen’s, who had taught public law, politics, and economics at Tokyo University from 1882 to 1890, began compiling Seijigaku on the basis of their teacher’s lectures. It would seem that Yu Kil-chun, who lived in Japan as an asylum seeker from 1896 to 1907, got to read this book during his time in Japan, and also began translating it while still there. A part of his manuscript was...

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