[Special Colloquy] Seeking Donghak Again To Ask Guidance in Our Way Forward / Kim Young-Oak, Park Maeng-soo, Paik Nak-chung

The Quarterly Changbi 193, Autumn 2021

 

Abstract

In this issue, we’re particularly excited to present an unconventional and unprecedented colloquy among three noted scholars. In celebration of the publication of Dongkyung Daejeon (Tongnamu, 2021), a book that offers a fundamentally new perspective to the study of Donghak thought, philosopher Kim Young-Oak; historian Park Maeng-soo, the president of Wonkwang University; and professor emeritus Paik Nak-chung of Seoul National University examine from various angles ideological legacies that Donghak had to confront and its present-day significance. Based on a sophisticated discussion about how to understand modernity, this feast of profound and rich dialogues, in which they discuss the keyword gaebyeok (“Great Opening of the Later Heaven”), while crisscrossing ideologies and other histories of the world, from ancient times to today, connecting Eastern and Western learning, Donghak and Won Buddhism, and Donghak and the Candlelight Revolution. They convincingly and powerfully expand our horizons, arguing that the groundbreaking aspects of Donghak—its engaging in confrontation with Catholicism and Western civilization, thinking deeply about the shape of horizontal democracy, and spearheading the liberation of people—formed the foundation for the ongoing Candlelight Revolution in our time. Their spirited and practical discussion, countering West-oriented, highbrow academic discourse at one stroke, offers abundant interest, with an intellectually rewarding reading experience.