New Perspectives in Modern Korean Buddhism

Institution, Gender, and Secular Society

Edited by Hwansoo Ilmee Kim & Jin Y. Park

Subjects: Korean Studies, Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Asian Studies
Hardcover : 9781438491318, 348 pages, December 2022
Expected to ship: 2022-12-01

Offers alternative approaches to the study of colonial and postcolonial Korean Buddhism, suggesting new directions for scholarship.


New Perspectives in Modern Korean Buddhism moves beyond nationalistic, modernist, and ethnocentric historiographies of modern Korean Buddhism by carefully examining individuals' lived experiences, the institutional dimensions of Korean Buddhism, and its place in transnational conversations. Drawing upon rich archives as well as historical, anthropological, and literary approaches, the book examines four themes that have gained attention in recent years: perennial existential concerns and the persistent relevance of religious practice; the role of female Buddhists; clerical marriage and scandals; and engagement with secular society. The book reveals the limits of metanarratives, such as those of colonialism, nationalism, and modernity, in understanding the complex and contested identities of both monastics and laity, thus demanding that we diversify the methods by which we articulate the history of modern Korean Buddhism.

Hwansoo Ilmee Kim is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University and the author of The Korean Buddhist Empire: A Transnational History, 1910–1945. Jin Y. Park is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at American University. She is the author of Women and Buddhist Philosophy: Engaging Zen Master Kim Iryŏp and the editor of Makers of Modern Korean Buddhism, also published by SUNY Press.


"This book will be a great resource for students and specialists seeking to understand modern and contemporary Korean Buddhism. It covers a broader range of topics than any other monograph on the subject, and provides much more material on the role of women in the preservation of Korean Buddhism." — Richard McBride, Brigham Young University