게시물 상세

Special Project

 

[Korean Scholars ④]

Professor Lim Jie-Hyun’s Realistic and
Reflective View on Korean History

The New Paradigm is a Nation-state Developing into a Desirable Society

 

2022.04.04

 

History does not stop progressing. It moves forward to the future as it passes through the present. History repeats itself and develops while various factors, situations, and positions of each nation entangle. It is natural for the historical paradigm to become diverse and change as it applies different judgments and value standards. Therefore, the view on history needs to progress in the right direction while embracing diversity and maintaining its realistic attitude. The opinions on history are getting more complicated with globalization. Professor Lim Jie-Hyun leads us to a new range of discussion on history with comprehensive and connective thinking and reasoning as a historian and commentator. His writings, which sharply criticize historical discourse befitting the era, also consider how society should look and act towards history. From the world history built from the organic relations of countries, history of each nation, to analysis on current issues of Korea, professor Lim suggests a new perspective and approach to the society as we seek answers.

 

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Ⓒ CGSI (Critical Global Studies Institute)

 

 

Search on morality that goes beyond the painful competition stage to reach solidarity

 

Russia's attack on Ukraine, which made the world tremble at the horrors and chaos of war, makes us question nationalism in this era. In this globalized age, war's impact is not limited to the countries involved but the world. Oil price and the cost of living are rising rapidly, and industries, including the energy sector, are showing high volatility. Who are the perpetrators and victims of the war? The argument on perpetrators and victims in history has been repeated. Is it right to have a dichotomic view of the world?
Professor Lim, who is also serving as the head of CGSI (Critical Global Studies Institute), first mentioned victimhood nationalism in a column he wrote in 2007. As world peace is at risk due to war now, I believe it is the right time to shed light on professor Lim's book published last year, Victimhood Nationalism (published by Humanist Books). In the book, professor Lim discusses the concept of a better victim by looking at cases in Korea, Germany, Poland, and others. He tries to overcome the limitation of the dichotomic view on people, which divides them into perpetrators and victims. Additionally, professor Lim raises an issue out of Korean society for continuing to bring out the traumatic memory of Comfort Women. According to the writer, the approaches stall people from reaching historical reconciliation and let the perpetrators get away without asking for forgiveness. Furthermore, he tries hard to persuade people to pursue more significant values than victimhood nationalism, which gives ethical ground to oneself as it recognizes its people and nation as the victim of history.

 

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Victimhood Nationalism

 

 

The dichotomic view that one side is right and the other is wrong may be hindering history from growing in a healthy direction. For human beings to thrive and enjoy peace, it is high time that people go beyond nationalism and have a broader view and comprehensive attitude towards their history. The message delivered by professor Lim, who has more insight into history, allows us to have a better and broader glimpse of the world. Through strong arguments in his book, professor Lim enlightens readers that it is an opportunity for the world to advance based on moral values in solidarity.

 

Inclusive growth is the right step towards democracy

 

Korean society is relatively ungenerous about embracing difference. Unfortunately, this tendency creates conflict and makes the community stand hostile against one another, leading to the degression of democracy. Another issue that professor Lim focuses on is recognizing and overcoming fascist-like problems of Korean society.
Even if society keeps on developing through time, the benefits of growth are not evenly distributed to its members. Industry and history all share the same aspect. If the fruits of development are not fairly given among the members who contributed to growth, how far will its effectiveness be recognized? Also, why is this happening? After the colonization and war, Korea became an economically advanced country in a short period, but its democracy cannot be said to have progressed as much. This is the point professor Lim harshly criticizes. He argues that social development is only meaningful when it changes the culture to recreate daily lives. Political and systematic innovation is not as important as transforming the culture. Nationalistic ideology, hierarchy, gender discrimination, patriarchal system, community first, and many other attitudes are deeply rooted in Korean society. Such a fascist-like mindset is something Koreans can never be free from, which blocks Korean culture from advancing. Entrenched but unnoticed fascism in Korea creates extreme collectivism, disregards multicultural society, and causes hatred in politics, religion, social classes, and gender. The fascist-like factors plague Korean democracy, making it retreat. Professor Lim argues that ingrained fascism in Korean society harms the advancement of democracy. He also says that we have to work harder to embrace dissimilarity and share achievements with the community members.

 

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Fascism in Us 2.0

 

 

The absolute majority only makes positive evaluations on Korean society and says external factors cause nationwide problems and conflicts. Against the majority, professor Lim claims that we should harmonize, accept diversity, and advance democracy with moral justice. His views on Korean society are well reflected in Fascism in Us 2.0 (published by Humanist Books), which was written in collaboration with other writers. In the book, professor Lim points out that Korean society is not facing diverse problems and issues for being caught up in linear time consciousness and that we need to escape the world filled with potential violence.

 

To prosper and achieve peace, we need to have a broader view and embrace history.

 

As Korea joins globalization, it should settle in a fair society and advance while embracing diversity. We need to seek new answers in a transnational view while overcoming a sense of inferiority from considering ourselves as victims of wars. Also, we need to transcend the boundaries of a nation and people. What about listening to messages from professor Lim as he suggests solutions and alternatives through his writings, lectures, columns, and research?

 

 


Written by Kim Young-Ihm

 

kbbok

Kim Young-Ihm

#Lim Jie-Hyun#Korean History#CGSI#Fascism#Nationalism
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