The mission of the GW Institute for Korean Studies (GWIKS) is to consolidate, strengthen, and grow the existing Korean studies program at GW, and more generally in the greater D.C. area. The institute will enable and enhance productive research and education relationships between individuals and departments in several universities, and among the many experts scattered throughout the region and the world.
The GWIKS expects to lead the Korean studies in the nation’s capital by focusing on the following three goals. The first is to strengthen the Korean humanities by expanding the Korean studies’ infrastructure and creating an interdisciplinary bridge between “humanities” and other fields, including social science, business, education, and engineering. We define the Korean humanities generally to mean the interdisciplinary study of Korea’s social, intellectual, and cultural context. The Korean humanities thus include language, linguistics, and literature; history; law and jurisprudence; religion; philosophy; and the arts. The Korean humanities also includes research within the social sciences, such as political science, anthropology, international affairs, archaeology, art therapy, psychology, and sociology, that both employ humanistic methods in the study of Korea and pay special attention to Korea’s distinctive heritage. As long as there is a common interest under the theme “Korea,” we intend to promote collaboration among different schools within the university, and with individuals and departments in numerous disciplines and settings in the greater D.C. region and beyond. Our second aim is to create a vibrant scholarly environment by not only bringing students and established experts from all over the world to GW but also by forging links with other professionals, such as policymakers, who are vital to the overall field of Korean studies but whose orbit sometimes excludes the Korean humanities. Our third objective is to develop a robust Korean studies curriculum by creating a Korean undergraduate major and offering new courses, summer study abroad programs, and internships.
The Institute for Korean Studies will enhance academic programs, faculty members, and scholarly activities by promoting collaboration and partnerships across the university, expanding the depth and breadth of Korean Studies at GW by focusing on a humanities approach, hosting events, beginning new courses, and increasing access to reference materials. These efforts will enable our students to excel in becoming experts in Korea regardless of their discipline. Moreover, we will enhance the university by bringing scholars around the world to GW. In addition, we intend to play a leading role by bringing local scholars in the metropolitan D.C. area to GW and interact with them in a variety ways through our signature conferences, Hahn Moo-Sook Colloquium in the Korean Humanities, Soh Jaipil Circle meetings, workshops, and lecture series. Students in the greater D.C. area will also benefit as they take courses at GW as Consortium students. In overall, our aim is to make GWIKS the hub of Korean studies in the nation’s capital and beyond.