Letter from the Head

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Greetings!

Thank you for visiting the website of the Institute of Humanities at Seoul National University.

Our institute, with 16 affiliated centers and institutes, works together with the College of Humanities to promote and expand research in the humanities.

The Korean word for the humanities, inmun (人文), literally means “the human pattern” and encompasses all human cultural activity. All that is human (humanus), including culture and education, forms humanitas, the systematic study of which is the essence of the humanities in academia. In less than the span of a generation, even the most cutting-edge advances in technology can become matters not of science, but of the humanities. Therefore, the humanities hold the responsibility of gathering and passing on the treasurehouse of human thought and action, and of edifying human civilization through new ideas and attempts.

Human civilization takes on a certain universality inasmuch as it is a product of the human race, but it can also carry various identities according to differences between human groups and communities. Amid the sudden interaction and conflict that swept through human society in the 19th century, the study of humanities in Korea lost its own character for a while, but in turn amassed a great hoard of unique material. The Institute of Humanities aims to fuse and refine these assets into a unified identity, to build a more dignified society within Korea, and to contribute to human society in general through increased academic diversity.

As a part of this aim, the Institute supports independent and collaborative research by scholars of the humanities within and outside of the Institute, holds various academic conferences, and regularly publishes Inmun Nonch’ong (Journal of Humanities, 人文論叢), an academic journal in Korean, and the English journal HORIZONS.

With the support of the National Research Foundation of Korea, the Institute is carrying out the HK Civilization Research Project under the rubric “Toward the Hub of Civilization, A New Paradigm of Korean Humanities”.

Through these various research initiatives, we have come to renew our understanding that, contrary to the common view that research in the humanities is carried out alone, it is only when many scholars converse together that new theories and schools of thought are born—and only when there is exchange and confrontation among such schools that the humanities are vitalized.

The Institute of Humanities at Seoul National University seeks to accumulate research experience and attempt multifaceted academic methods; based on the fruits of such endeavors, we seek to collect human wisdom across temporal and geographical boundaries, with the goal of enhancing the dignity of ‘humanness’ in general and more specifically of providing a cultural foundation for the Korean people in anticipation of a unified Korea. These efforts are showcased on our website; please feel free to look around and lend us a warm word of advice.
 
Kim, Juwon,
Head of the Institute of Humanities,
Seoul National University