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Departmental Honors


At the very moment of this writing (17 May, 1980) Korea is in the throes of still another violent power transition. With the assassination of President Park Chung Hee in October of last year, the "Land of the Morning Calm" found itself once again performing a sequence of political events that have become almost a ritual for the body politic.

There are Koreans living today who within their own life span have personally experienced absolute monarchy under the dying Yi dynasty, ruthless colonial exploitation under the Japanese Empire, occupational military government, virtual anarchy and civil war, unstable democracy and varying corms of authoritarianism. The past century has been one of desperation. Rudely ejected form the comfortable confines of an ancient world order, Koreans have been forced to search for a new self-definition, one that could give meaning to their nation in a new world order which showed no patience for cultural diversity. The quest for a suitable ideology has been fraught with hardship. Historical circumstances stripped old institutions of their legitimacy. Yet the tiny country seemed to have natural antibodies which rejected alien idea systems.