Monthly Archives: August 2011

Asia Institute Seminar on Technology Convergence (article)

Wrestling with Convergence

Part 1: “What Convergence Hath Wrought”

Korea IT Times

August 19, 2011

The Asia Institute recently held a round-table discussion on the topic of technology convergence. The discussion was led by the director of the Asia Institute, Emanuel Pastreich, who serves as a professor at Humanitas College of Kyung Hee University. Also in attendance were Charlie Wolf,  director at the Social Impact Assessment Center, Paul Callomon, collections manager at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Stephanie Wan, technology policy specialist at NASA, Daniel Lafontaine, business consultant at AMA Korea; Alan Engel, president of Paterra, Inc. of Japan; Matthew Weigand, founder of Responsiv.Asia, Tahir Hameed, research fellow at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) and Vince Rubino, Global Team Leader of Business Development at the Korea Institute of Toxicology. In this first part of a five-part series, the experts discussed the social implications of the rapid technological change that convergence represents.

Emanuel Pastreich: Moore’s Law holds that “the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has doubled every two years for the last half century.” This phenomenon could be said to drive all the central trends in society, Read more of this post

“After Kimchi and Winter Sonata: The Intellectual Korean Wave” (article)


After Kimchi and Winter Sonata: The Intellectual Korean Wave

August 16th, 2011

Emanuel Pastreich

The Korean Wave (hallyu) has swept the world. Korea’s romantic songs, thrilling movies and compelling television dramas have captured the imagination of a new generation-and quite a few from the previous generation. Although the mystique of Korean popular culture first took root in Japan and China, it has crept through Southeast and Central Asia and is now rolling into the Middle East and South America. Moreover, the Korean wave has extended to fashion and cosmetics, food and sports.

Nevertheless, although the Korean Wave has vastly enhanced Korea’s visibility, we find that further up in the food chain the Korean Wave has not started in earnest. The truth is that most intellectuals in the United States, Read more of this post

What is Unique about Korea and Technology?


To say that Korea is leading in technology is perhaps not the accurate term. In terms of basic research Korea does not have a definitive lead and there are plenty of others out there who have capabilities close to Korea’s. Even Mexico and Malaysia have some real assets. Rather there is something just more human about technology and its use in Korean society which makes it more acceptable within the community and allows for innovation in Korea that is harder in other countries simply because innovation in technology has come to mean a more inhuman society for so many. Read more of this post

What’s This about a Foreigner Teaching Park Jiwon’s Novels?

This article by 임송이 describes the class for the Department of Korean Literature that I will be teaching next semester. The class is in English and concerns the novels of Park Jiwon, the 18th century writer whose novels I recently translated into English. This class is the first class taught in English in Kyung Hee University’s department of Korean literature and I do not know of any other universities teaching Korean literature in English, but to do so makes sense these days as there are an increasing number of foreign students in Korean literature departments. In graduate school foreigners outnumber Koreans.

By the way, I was interviewed at Korea University for a position in the department of Korean Literature in 2006, but at the time the department decided against hiring a foreigner. Times have changed, and we realize that teaching Korean is not just about some cruel globalization project, but a reality about the very nature of Korea. As Korea’s cultural power increases, we will see more such efforts to bring in internationals. Read more of this post

Is the United States a threat even if it is just minding its own business?

Most of us are still a bit vague about where all that money is going to be cut from the federal and state governments of the United States. Perhaps some of the cuts will come out of the bloated military budget, thereby reducing the threats that our troops around the world are subject to, and at the same time also generate. Certainly many who actually serve in the military would welcome such a reduction in spending.

But we need to start thinking about a new and unprecedented security threat on a global massive scale: the United States without safety protocols and effective inspection regimes for the vast range of dangerous materials collected over the last sixty years.

The United States is a pile of chemical waste dumps, aging nuclear power plants, nuclear materials—and weapons—storage facilities, oil rigs, oil pipelines, mines (active and abandoned), armories and any number of railroads and highways that require an enormous investment to maintain safely.

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Response to “Is China the Nemesis in a New Cold War?”

This discussion concerns my article “Is China the Nemesis in a New Cold War?” Published five years ago, I think the points about the future of US-China relations remain relevant today.  It was originally published in the Nautilus Institute.  I had input from Charles G. Coutinho, Ph.D. for the original article.

The Nautilus Institute

June 23rd, 2006

Response to “Is China the Nemesis in a New Cold War?”

by Emanuel Yi Pastreich and Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D.
Response by Emanuel Yi Pastreich

I. Introduction

The following are comments on the essay “Is China the Nemesis in a New Cold War?” by Emanuel Pastreich, visiting scholar at the Center for East Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania and a Japan Focus associate, which appeared as Policy Forum Online 06-18A: March 6th, 2006.

This report includes comments by Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D. an independent scholar, having with a doctorate in the department of History at New York University in 1997. specializing in Anglo-American relations during the early Cold War.

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Using Art to Build a Bridge to Post-Tsunami Japan

The Fortune Cookies Made by children in Korea

One of the most innovative programs for education that I have found in Seoul  is the “Kids’ Atelier” (어린이 예술 공방) at the Paik Hae Young Gallery in Itaewon. I wrote an article about their excellent programs in the latest edition of Seoul Magazine. This remarkable series of art classes for children creates a total environment in which children learn not only to create art, but also and many other issues in society. Every Saturday, the children gather for a new project with a distinct theme and purpose. The entire space of the house is open to visitors.  The garden, the artwork, the café can be explored by children and parents. The parents who come along with their children can sit in the attractive café and engage in their own intellectual discussions on art, or other topics, with the director and others who stop by. In a sense it is a program for children as part of a “salon culture” that involves everyone.For a detailed description of the Paik Hae Young Gallery, see “Unique Cultural Space Thrives in Itaewon”

Paik Hae Young Gallery recently held a remarkable art project intended to increase exchange with the children in Northeast Japan impacted by the recent tsunami and nuclear disaster. Through a student at Kyung Hee University from Sendai, Honda Nika, I managed to get in touch with an elementary school in Higashi Matsushima, a town half destroyed by the tsunami. Nika’s father made a special effort to introduce me to the principle, Mr. Kudo, and we arranged for a unique artistic exchange: Fortune cookies!

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Life is a Matter of Direction, not Speed

Emanuel's book about life in Korea and the Future of Education

My new book, titled “Life is a Matter of Direction, not Speed” or in Korean “인생은 속도가 아니라 방향이다,” addresses the challenges for young people in Korea and around the world in the context of larger cultural forces and the evolution of education. In the book I also take time to describe my experiences in Korea and explain why I have settled down in this country.  It came out on July 20, 2011, and is published by Nomad Books.  Read on for a Korean-language excerpt.
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The Renaissance for the 21st Century can Happen in Korea

This article originally appeared in the Munhwa Ilbo on August 1st, 2011.   

이만열/경희대 후마니타스 칼리지 교수, 아시아연구소장

최근 서울 안국역 주변 지역을 중심으로 일고 있는 활발한 예술의 흐름을 보다 보면 놀라움을 금치 못한다. 지금 서울은 세계 어디에 내놔도 그 창의성 면에서 돋보이는 작품들을 선보이는 갤러리가 하루가 다르게 늘어가고 있다. 그것은 문화재나 TV 드라마, 가요뿐 아니라 개념예술, 조각, 회화 등의 예술 영역으로 빠르게 확산되고 있다. 이곳 서울에서 일고 있는 문화의 바람이 아시아를 넘어 세계를 향해 나아가고 있는 것만은 확실하다.

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The Economy of Information

I wrote this thought piece in April of 2000 at the very beginning of my consideration of the implications of technology for society and globalization. At the time, I was focused primarily on classical literature, but had been exposed to some discussions about technology at University of Illinois. The essay is erroneously titled “The Economy of Information.” It would be tempting to find a new title, but that act would create a historical inaccuracy. This essay is what led to much of my writings about the internet.

Computer Networks Recapitulate the Human Mind that Gave them Birth

The most interesting, and most powerful confluence in technology is the parallel process of genetic research and computer chip design. Perhaps the more appropriate terms are silicon & carbon engineering. At the very same time that the human genome is being mapped out and a one-to-one correspondence between the specific gene and the trait is imagined, increasingly minute wafer fabrication at a microscopic level is conducted at the same scale as the process of DNA replication. Both carbon and silicon engineering at the microscopic level are developing in parallel. Oddly, silicon engineering seems more and more like carbon engineering (DNA) because unlike previous technologies, like the sewing machine, or the automobile, today’s chip could not be readily replaced if the supporting technology for production disappeared.  That is to say, if you destroyed all parts factories and research laboratories in the automobile industry, you could still produce a vehicle rapidly if you knew the principles of manufacturing. If we lost the factories and data behind a modern silicon wafer, however, we could not reduplicate because the previous generation of computer needed to design it, as the generation before that one was employed before it.

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