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Berlin Office
University of Tübingen:
Focal Point of Korean Studies in Germany

Department of Korean Studies Poised for Another Takeoff
Lee You-jae
Professor, Department of Korean Studies,
University of Tübingen
The University of Tübingen’s long history of Korean Studies is evident from its maintenance of the largest collection of Korean materials in Germany. Thanks to this broad infrastructure, the Department of Korean Studies at the University of Tübingen is now prepared for another takeoff with the appointment of a professor of modern Korean Studies, on April 1, 2010.



Along with Ruhr University Bochum, the University of Tübingen has the most noteworthy tradition of Korean Studies programs in Germany. Following the appointment of Professor Dieter Eikemeier in the late 1970s, the university set up its Department of Korean Studies that has educated a great number of students, thereby establishing itself as a center of Korean Studies in Germany. With such a lengthy history of Korean Studies, the University of Tübingen is making a new leap forward in 2010.

New Korean Studies Scholar
Newly appointed Professor Lee You-jae is a second-generation Korean resident in Germany. He came to Germany when his father was dispatched by Korea to work in the coal mines here. He has studied history, philosophy, political science, and Korean Studies at Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, and Seoul National University. He received his doctorate degree from the Department of History, University of Erfurt, with his doctoral dissertation on Christianity in Korea during the Japanese colonial period. Professor Lee has served as a full-time lecturer at the Department of History, Free University of Berlin, and at the Department of Japanese and Korean Studies, University of Bonn.

Innovative Programs on Modern Korea
The bachelor course on Korean Studies at the University of Tübingen will now include an additional focus on modern Korea. Students enrolled in the course will be able to attain extensive knowledge about Korea, ranging from history to politics, society, economy, and culture, based on the Korean language.
To strengthen exchange efforts, the University of Tübingen is participating in the Flying University Project, led by Professor Im Ji-hyun of the Research Institute of Comparative History and Culture, of Hanyang University, Korea. Flying University is an innovative and experimental program that strives to facilitate interdisciplinary and transnational research projects by inviting promising scholars and students from the U.S., Europe, and East Asia to international summer school and workshop sessions. The Department of Korean Studies at the University of Tübingen plans to participate actively in these innovative projects in the future to increase the opportunities for student exchange and to build a global academic network.
The most progressive project of the Department of Korean Studies at the University of Tübingen involves its efforts to establish a Korean Studies center in Korea. As an institutional facility in Korea, where undergraduate students can attend a required language training program for a semester or two, the university plans to set up a Korean Studies center in Korea as soon as feasible. In this way, the Korean Studies students at the University of Tübingen will be better able to attend classes on Korean Studies subjects, in addition to language classes, at sister universities in Korea, under a credit transfer litical science, and Korean Studies at Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, and Seoul National University. He received his doctorate degree from the Department of History, University of Erfurt, with his doctoral dissertation on Christianity in Korea during the Japanese colonial period. Professor Lee has served as a full-time lecturer at the Department of History, Free University of Berlin, and at the Department of Japanese and Korean Studies, University of Bonn. Innovative Programs on Modern Korea The bachelor course on Korean Studies at the University of Tübingen will now include an additional focus on modern Korea. Students enrolled in the course will be able to attain extensive knowledge about Korea, ranging from program. When this project successfully takes root, the university will then proceed to establish a joint degree program.
The Department of Korean Studies at the University of Tübingen has selected modern and contemporary Korean history as a major field of research for its master’s and doctoral degree programs. The University of Tübingen thus intends to serve as a focal point for the study of the modern and contemporary history of Korea, and to build a broad foundation for research on Korean history.
For this, the university will develop working relations with the historians and history-related institutions in Korea, along with the historical circles in Germany. Research topics over the next five years will include such areas as Korea’s colonial/post-colonial development, Korean immigration and diaspora, and the Cold War and national division. In terms of methodology, project participants will actively accept, develop, and adopt post-colonialism, global history (world history), transnationalism, cultural history of the Cold War, and the history of everyday life, to the research of Korean history. They will also conduct active exchange with and make academic contributions to the historical sector in Germany.



There is a critical need to enhance the status and awareness of Korean Studies in Germany and to steadily increase student interest in order for the Department of Korean Studies at the University of Tübingen to take root successfully. For this, it is necessary to make the Department of Korean Studies more widely known, and to attract the attention of the media and the public by organizing outreach activities with academic events. Accordingly, the university plans to cooperate closely with German educational institutions, museums, civic organizations, church groups, and political party foundations to present Korean film festivals, cultural events, exhibitions, and related activities, in an effort to make Korea and Korean Studies more widely known to Germany’s society, media, and students.





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