The Green Hills: Environment and Society in Pre-Industrial Korea

Guest lecture by Dr. John Lee (East Asian History, Durham University).

This lecture will introduce the environmental history of pre-modern Korea, with particular focus on how people and institutions have interacted with and reshaped the “natural” environments of the Korean peninsula between 1000 and 1900 CE. Topics to be discussed include: Korea’s geography and its impact on history; how conceptions of the environment shifted during the Koryŏ and Chosŏn eras; the transnational and domestic forces that cultivated and decimated Korean fauna; and the complex role that forestry and agriculture played in the making of pre-modern Korean society. The goal is to offer a new, environmental-historical approach to Korean history that interweaves the making of state, society, and ecology on the Korean peninsula.