My dissertation examines the position of Christianity in modern Korea’s cultural and intellectual history. Indebted to Jacques Derrida’s method of deconstruction as a critical reading practice, I trace the logic of political subjectivity and the search for ethnic origin that undergird historical imaginations of a “postcolonial” Korea, and I argue that this logic is in fact haunted by Western metaphysical categories. In showing how the case of Christianity in Korea reinscribes colonial rhetoric in the very attempts to resist and exorcise it, this project re-examines the status of postcolonial discourse in colonial hegemony’s repetition and return. My research interests more broadly are situated in philosophy of religions, critical Korean studies, and contemporary cultural and political theory.
I am honored to be a part of the Martin Marty Center as I continue undertaking this project. I hope to complete chapters 3 and 4 of the dissertation during the fellowship year, and to deepen my journey of transitioning from a student to a scholar and a teacher. In a world that increasingly and urgently challenges us to reflect on the complicated intersection of identity, religion, politics, and history, I see the academic study of religion as a particularly charged site that can and should provide a critically self-reflective and consciously relational space. I look forward to our conversations at the Marty Center that can address these questions concerning our scholarly vocations and our responsibilities to not only institutional communities but also the wider public.