About

The histories of Korea and Vietnam are marked by many parallels. Before the traumas of division, civil war, and colonial occupation in the modern period, both were countries of “manifest civility,” polities ruled by an elite who prided themselves as cultural heirs to a Confucian antiquity. Both were countries touched by the scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. Both confronted across uncertain boundaries an imperial China that was at once an existential threat and a source of cultural inspiration. Behind these parallels are also stark differences in historical trajectory, but little work in cultural or literary history have sought to place Vietnam and Korea’s early modern past in proper comparison. The group aims not only to put scholars of both countries in dialogue with one another, but to create a framework for meaningful collaboration across fields.