ND Student Researches at the Diplomatic Archives of Korea

I’m here in Seoul this summer for 10 weeks.
I’ve been doing archival research at the Diplomatic Archives of Korea
which is in the Gangnam district of Seoul. I’ve been taking a look at some microfilms, also some digitized records, all produced by the South Korean foreign
ministry. My senior thesis is on the bilateral relationship between South Korea and the
United States, particularly during the late nineteen seventies to early
eighties when South Korea was going through a very tumultuous period. There
was this massive movement for democracy that clashed with an authoritarian
government that was supported by the United States. The existing historiography is
mostly based on U.S. government documents and U.S. sources. Part of what I’m trying to do is to
take a look at the South Korea sources and see how they match or how they differ. The Undergraduate Research Opportunity
Program at Notre Dame has afforded me this opportunity to really delve into a topic
that I’m interested in. I hope this experience is a springboard toward either further research or
further study. And eventually I hope to do something in the realm of international affairs. Someone could easily say that South Korea was bound to go from
a dictatorship to democracy but I think that doesn’t take into account all the
twists, all the uncertainties, all the close moments that took place. So
my job is to take all these things into account and produce my own interpretation
that will hopefully explain these things in a way that is accessible and that is also insightful.

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