Thomas Kim- Curriculum Vitae
Fields of interest
Buddhism and popular Buddhism within the Korean context
Formation of Korean Buddhist Identity in the mid-Joseon period
Confucian-Buddhist dialogue of the Joseon period
Syncretism of Buddhism and Korean Shamanism
Slavery? The tradition of temple Nobi during the Joseon period
My area of research for the project, Social Justice and Buddhism, focuses on the issue of nobi (奴婢) within historical context of the mid-Joseon period (1392-1910). The project presents an interesting opportunity to explore the question of "just what is Buddhism?" from the opposite angle of the apologists. My project will be an attempt to project Buddhism from a social-historical framework without forgoing its roles as a religious tradition. In other words it challenges the traditional doctrinal and apologetic approach that often over-interpret in a prescriptive way that leads to a Buddhism more closer to what is in the mind of the Buddhologist than what is or has been lived by the monks and laity. The issue of temple nobi tries to understand a Buddhism that often did not behave the way we imagined a religious tradition like Buddhism, whose core doctrine is freedom from suffering, would. In our often dogmatic understanding of Buddhism, there is a disjuncture with what happened during the Joseon dynasty. This research addresses how such paradoxes have existed so closely with Buddhism and tries to draw-up other possible channels of understanding of Buddhism that is more sympathetic to the whole of its tradition.
The Emergence of Korean Buddhist Identity during the 17th Century: Focusing on the Steles of Korean Eminent Monks
Ph.D., (Feb. 2012) Religious Studies, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
M.A., (Feb. 2004) Religious Studies, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
M.A., (1997-incomplete) Asian Studies, University of British Columbia, B.C., Canada
M.A., (Oct. 1996) Sociology, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada
B.A., (April 1991) Sociology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
B.Sc., (Dec. 1989) Electrical Engineering, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- Researcher, Center for Religious Studies, Humanities Collage, Seoul National University,
Korea, 2008 – 2012.
- Lecturer, Graduate School of International Studies, Korea University, Seoul, Korea, 2003- 2004
- Graduate Assistant Lecturer, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, 1991-1993
Awards and Scholarships
- Korean Government Graduate Assistant Grant, 2007-2011
- Korea Foundation Fellowship, Korea Foundation, 2006-2007
- Korean Buddhist Studies Foundation, 2006
- International Student Scholarship, Seoul National University, 2002, 2004-2005
- Korea Foundation Fellowship, Korea Foundation, 2002
- Exchange Student Scholarship, University of British Columbia, 1998
-Center for Korean Research Graduate Student Grant, UBC, 1997-1998
- 2009 – 2010: Member of the Committee for International Cooperation of Engaged
Buddhism, Buddhist Solidarity for Reform, Seoul, Korea
- 2003 – 2005: Member of the Committee for International Cooperation of Engaged Buddhism, Buddhist Solidarity for Reform, Seoul, Korea
English (fluent/fluent – oral/written)
Korean (fluent/high competency – oral/written)
Classical Chinese (competency in reading text)
"Theoretical Implications of Buddhist Spatial Mimicry in Korea," Jonggyowa Munhwa, Vol. 17 (2010).
“Crossing Boundaries or is it Blurred Boundaries? – A Reevaluation of Popular Buddhism in Korea,” Jonggyowa Munhwa, Vol. 15 (2008), pp. 183-201.
“Hangukui Musokgwa Minganbulgyoui Honhaphyeonsang (Syncretism of Popular Buddhism and Shamanism in Korea),” Jonggyohak-yeongu, Vol. 24 (2005), pp. 73-91.
Conference presentations and participation
“Steles of Illustrious Monks and the Rhetoric of Korean Buddhist Identity.” International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS), Dharma Drum Center for Buddhist Studies, Jiangsan, Taiwan, June 20 – 26, 2011.
“The Familiar but Unfamiliar Syncretism Between Korean Buddhism and Musok: Their Ambivalent Affair.” International Society for Korean Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, August 27 – 28, 2009.
“Crossing Boundaries or is it Blurred Boundaries?: A Reevaluation of Popular Buddhism in Korea.” ASPAC, Crossing Boundaries in the Asia-Pacific 2008 Conference. (Victoria University, Victoria, Canada, June 13 – 15, 2008.
Chair and Discussant for the session “Buddhism in China.” ASPAC, Crossing Boundaries in the Asia-Pacific 2008 Conference, Victoria University, Victoria, Canada, June 13 – 15, 2008.
“Buddhism and the Aristocratic Women of the Joseon Dynasty.” 9th International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women, Ehwa University, Seoul, Korea, June 19 – 24, 2005.
“Buddhism of the Joseon Dynasty: Specialist of the Spiritual Realm.” International Association of the History of Religions, Sakura Hotel, Tokyo, Japan, May 24 – 30, 2005.
Korean Folk Religions in the 21st Century: A Compilation of Papers on the Traditional Practices of Korean Folk Religions, (Project for a Development of Textbooks on Korean Studies, Sponsored by the Strategic Initiative for Korean Studies Project, 2010-2011), The Academy of Korean Studies (forthcoming).
Review of [One Korean's approach to Buddhism - The Mom/Momjit Paradigm by Sung Bae Park, State University of New York Press, 2009]. Seoul Journal of Korean Studies, Vol. 21, No. 1 (June, 2009), pp. 97-99.