Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Yonhap piece about B.R. Myers

Andrew Salmon wrote a piece for Yonhap about Brian Myers:
He is currently researching how pan-Korean nationalism undermines state patriotism in South Korea. Successive Seoul administrations have neglected to inculcate pride in the republic as a state entity, Myers says, instead equating it with the Korean race: "This is no problem when you have a nation state like Japan or Denmark, but is a problem when you have a state divided."

This explains why, he continues, there were no mass protests against last year's North Korean attacks. Moreover, the issue impacts beyond the strategic space: It also hinders South Korea's globalization.

So Myers won't be departing Korea quite yet? "I want to be here for unification," he says, though he warns that it could be cataclysmic. "Ultra-nationalism is an appealing ideology -- the Third Reich fought to the end, even sending their children into battle," Myers muses.

"We should not underestimate its appeal."
His current research topic was the topic of a presentation given a year ago, titled "The Unloved Republic? On the Lack of State-Nationalism in South Korea," and it will be interesting to see how he develops the topic.


Andrew said...

The big mystery is why he works for Dongseo University. I'd think he'd be getting offers from better places.

Anonymous said...


That far south of the DMZ is probably the best of places to be if one is waiting out a reunification one believes may be "cataclysmic."

kushibo said...

If he has found a place that will keep him on as long as we wants to be there, gives him a decent salary, and let's him pursue the academic interests he wants to pursue, then why go somewhere else? (Assuming that's what he's really getting at Dongseo.)

Also, the work he does that makes him prominent in anglophone Korean Studies may not necessarily make him well enough known on the Korean-speaking side of things for him to leverage it into a cushy position.

Anonymous said...

What kushibo said. Although I'm assuming his books on Korea have been translated into Korean by now but still, he's a bit of an unconventional character (and that's a compliment).

nambangui horangi said...

@kushibo. Wetcasements is right. I know Brian as well and have immense respect for his remarkable intellect. He recognizes that Dongseo is far from the most prestigious place in Korea, but they do give him a lot of freedom to do what he wants, a lot of supprot, and he also knows there'd be trade-offs if he went to a university in N. America in terms of having to conform to certain aspects of academic culture and that there could be butting of heads at other Korean universities.