Responding to Globalization: Nationalism and Public Education in the South Korean History Textbook Controversy

By Benedict Edward DeDominicis.

Published by The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 2, 2017 Free Download

The South Korean government aims to increase its bargaining leverage in international negotiations by strengthening domestic public support for the regime. South Korea’s post-1945 history includes reliance by the US occupation authorities upon widely perceived, high-ranking Japanese collaborators in establishing the post-Japanese government. The Korean War and competition with North Korea continued while South Korea relied upon the economic institutional foundations laid under Japanese colonialism. South Korea’s renowned Cold War economic development success faces post-Cold War globalization policy challenges. These challenges include decreasing US commitment to South Korea’s defense amid rising isolationist sentiment in the United States. Rising populist sentiments in response to perceived challenges to national core group sovereignty manifest themselves through a policy focus on asserting control over education policy. A comparison with the current South Korean high school textbook controversy regarding the Japanese occupation with the US Tea Party movement’s focus on public education content provides insights into public opinion’s role in strategy. US Republican right-wing hostility to the popularity of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States parallels South Korean right-wing hostility to current South Korean textbooks that highlight the Japanese colonial occupation.

Keywords: South Korea, United States, History Textbook

The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp.1-19. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 2, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 510.764KB)).

Prof. Benedict Edward DeDominicis

Assistant Professor, Department of International Studies, Catholic University of Korea, Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea