Moeun Jeong and Mark Peterson, Department of Humanities
Introduction This project seeks to explore the social stratification and inequality by examining the premodern Korean literature, in order to determine the meaning and significance of the cultural and social roles the slaves played in the premodern era (i.e. before 1900s) in Korea.
Through preliminary research, the research team has found that slaves play a vital role (such as an important communication mode between characters) in premodern Korean literature. The research team examined the works in order to find specific examples and recognize how significant the slaves were.
There is a big hole to fill to educate the students in America and the world about accurate Korean history and culture. This project aimed to help clarify any misunderstandings of the Korean social inequality system in the premodern era and its impact on society.
This research project’s four principle objectives were: (1) to gain a deeper understanding of the social stratification and inequality in premodern Korea, (2) to measure significance of the slavery in premodern era, (3) to compare and contrast the Korean slavery system to the American slavery system, and (4) to analyze the qualitative data in order to determine the influence of slavery on Korean society, with the vision of presenting and publishing research findings in appropriate scholarly venues.
The first three objectives were achieved through the collection and analysis of relevant scholarly works in Korean literature, history, philosophy, and sociology. Utilizing language proficiency and other translation tools, the research team translated many of the original Korean and Chinese works into English during the research process.
Achievement of these objectives prepared the research team to approach the fourth objective with a fuller understanding and more sophisticated knowledge. The fourth objective of the project involved analyzing the findings and making appropriate conclusions, in an effort to publish the research results in appropriate scholarly outlets.
During the research, the team has created a list of Chinese characters and old, sophisticated Korean terms used in Dr. Peterson and Dr. Jung’s scholarly report called “Joseon Literature and Slavery,” in an effort to provide a translation guide for deeper understanding of the work for both in Korean and English. More than 300 Chinese words and phrases were identified and translated into Korean and English. Furthermore, based on the findings, the team has outlined the five main chapters for the scholarly publication.
As relevant feedback is received, the scholarly book reporting the research findings will be published and presented at conferences. In addition to these outcomes, it is expected that this research will lay important groundwork for further research opportunities in the study field.
This project involved exploration of the social stratification and inequality by examining the premodern Korean literature. The research team studied various documents and records, which describe the premodern slavery system, in order to determine the meaning and significance of the cultural and social roles the slaves played in the premodern era in Korea.