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Scholars, Schools, Shrines: Authority and knowledge networks in Korean Confucianism

Subproject by Dr. Vladimir Glomb

The concept of Confucian academies achieved unprecedented success in Chosŏn Korea. Since the founding of the first institution in the 1540's it took only a few decades to establish networks of hundreds of schools and shrines supported by the competing schools of Korean literati. In spite of all proclaimed references to the canonical Chinese model, represented by Zhu Xi's intellectual heritage and his White Deer Grotto-Academy, Korean academies show remarkable diversity in terms of their curriculum, religious functions, or social background. The understanding of epistemic processes behind accommodation, competition, overlapping, or conflict between academies, state and literati communities are the aim of this project. It analyzes benefits or disadvantages of academy education compared to the system of state schools or direct master-disciple knowledge transfers, the cultic significance in contrast to the official Confucian pantheon and academies' contribution to intellectual debate in 16th and 17th century Korea.