Stephanie Se-Aun Park

Universal Equality vs. Neo-Confucian Class Structure in the Late Period of Joseon
World History
Volume 8 | Issue I | March 2024
Milton Academy ’24
Massachusetts, USA
After having written a research paper for my US history class during my sophomore year, I became enamored with delving into historical documents, understanding the context of the era, and the meticulous and seemingly never-ending process of revision. The following summer, I participated in a history research project supervised by Professor Brian Purnell, after which I wrote a full-fledged paper about African-American soldiers’ participation in the Korean War after Truman desegregated the military. This endeavor allowed me to investigate the intricate intersection of two historical narratives, elucidating their reciprocal impact. The aftermath of the US military’s desegregation during the Korean War manifested in strategic shifts during the civil rights movement and contributed to safeguarding democracy in my home country South Korea. This research fueled my desire to delve deeper into the movements that unfolded in Korea and their repercussions on the existing socio-political landscape. During my exploration, I learned about Ryu Gyeon Myung, a figure of the highest caste during the Joseon Dynasty who emancipated his slaves. Although this act initially yielded minimal consequences, the gradual erosion of Confucian beliefs by egalitarian Christian ideals eventually led to the abolition of the class system in Korea. Navigating Korean and English sources recording this time in Korean history was a tremendously enriching academic experience! I am excited to share my research findings in The Schola. Beyond historical research, I enjoy singing, listening to classical music, engaging in philosophical debates, and watercolor painting.
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