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Reconstructing Ancient Korean History


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Table of Contents

Introduction Chapter 1: From Others to Barbarians: The Conceptualization and Evolution of Yi Chapter 2: Negotiating the Past, Reinterpreting Ancient History: Legitimacy in the Lineage of Ancient Korean History Chapter 3: Ancient History Reinvented: Another Battleground for National Prestige and Political Legitimacy Chapter 4: From a Marxist Universal History to an Ultra-Nationalist Approach: Studies on Ancient History in North Korea Chapter 5: In the Name of History: Laying Claim to the Historical Sovereignty of Manchuria (Northeast China) Conclusion: Living with the Legacy of the Past

About the Author

Stella Xu is associate professor of history at Roanoke College.


This book provides a fascinating illustration of how history has been used and abused in attempts to frame national consciousness. Through the nuanced study of a wide spectrum of primary sources and secondary scholarship in many languages, Professor Xu reveals ubiquitous slippages from scholarly inquiry to political ideology. Although she trains her focus on the Korean case, her findings are paradigmatic. The importance of this book therefore goes far beyond the field of Northeast Asian historiography: it deserves the attention of a broad readership of historians and social scientists. -- Lothar Von Falkenhausen, University of California, Los Angeles
The past is the present. Xu shows how the politics of contemporary East Asia are played out in interpreting its past and especially the early history focusing on the Korean kingdom Koguryo. She guides us through the writing of Korea's history from the 12th century to the present and shows how important an understanding of ancient Korea is in constructing a Korean identity both in the past and the present. Reconstructing Ancient Korean History must be read by serious students and scholars of East Asia. -- Edward J. Shultz, University of Hawai`i at Manoa
This study details the background to the `history wars' that regularly sweep through East Asia. In this region, the ancient past is very much alive, and matters in discourses on national identity and the geopolitics of China, the Korean states, and Japan. For the first time, this work explains what is at stake, how the arguments have taken shape in the course of history, and what we actually know about the ancient states of East Asia. It is therefore a must-read for anyone interested in the conflicts over who owns the past in East Asia, especially regarding states located in Manchuria but with strong links to the Korean peninsula, such as Puyo and Koguryo. -- Sem Vermeersch, Seoul National University

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