The ICAS Bulletin
Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.

July 12, 2001
Jacqueline Pak
ICAS Fellow

Dear Friend:

We are pleased to share with you that Jacqueline Pak has been named ICAS Fellow.

Jacqueline Pak is historian of modern Korea and Asian America. Her forthcoming book, An Ch'angho (1878-1938) and the Nationalist Origins of Korean Democracy, is an intellectual biography of An Ch'angho, the chief architect and strategist of the Korean independence movement, based on a voluminous collection of his private papers for the first time.

Beginning as a dissertation at the University of London, her study illumines the philosophical and political milieu which gave rise to An Ch'angho's emergence as the founding father of the Republic of Korea who drafted the first republican constitution, unified the Korean Provisional Government, and waged the war of independence against the Japanese colonialists. Her study is a systematic empirical effort to delineate the manner in which the ideals and practice of democracy was assimilated in the Korean nationalist movement and to rectify previous misjudgment of An Ch'angho as a "gradualist-pacifist", "cultural nationalist", or passive collaborator.

Her scrutiny of the private papers reveals that An Ch'angho was, most of all, a pioneering constitutional democrat who pursued the goal of sovereign freedom as a militarist revolutionary and strategist. In this regard, the underlying assumptions concerning the ideological nature and political dynamics of the Korean quest for independence and democracy are critically reconfigured and reconceptualized, rejecting the earlier divisive and binary Cold War paradigms or the accumulated contradictions of colonialism. As a biography of leader and nation, it captures a unique and indigenous form of nationalism expressed in a rare merger of revolution and democracy in East Asia. Overcoming a storm of academic controversy, her new findings confront and interrogate the earlier conceptions of An Ch'angho as a "gradualist-pacifist" or "cultural nationalist", the idée fixé which had not been seriously questioned since the 1960s. (Reflecting the symbolic significance of his transnational diasporic leadership including early Korean-Americans, his statue will be unveiled in August 2001 in the city square of Riverside, CA, next to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.)

As a fourth-generation Korean-American, she feels a special kinship with her subject of study, An Ch'angho, with whom her great-grandfather, Pak Youngjik, studied and lived together at the Hungsadan headquarters in Los Angeles for more than fifteen years. Pak Youngjik was also an early member of the revolutionary leadership-training society, Hungsadan (Young Korean Academy), established by An Ch'angho in 1913 in San Francisco, California. Eventually, Pak became one of Korea's earliest Impressionist painters and a professor of Western painting at Seoul National University.

She was born in Jinhae, Korea, where her father taught at the Korean Naval Academy for over a decade and translated multi-volumes on naval strategy. Educated in Seoul, she came to America as a teenager. Raised in northern Virginia, she was the first Asian-American woman in the Government and Foreign Affairs department at the University of Virginia, where she received a B.A. in International Relations. While working at the United Nations, Political and Security Council Affairs, she gained an M.A. in Politics/Political Economy from New York University. She earned another M.A. in Korean Studies from Harvard University where she studied with Edward Wagner. Award-winning intellectual historian, Martina Deuchler was her doctoral advisor at the University of London, SOAS. As pioneers of Korean Studies in the West, Wagner and Deuchler are protégées of John K. Fairbank and Edwin O. Reishchauer, the founders of East Asian Studies at Harvard.

As a Korea Foundation Fellow in 1994, she conducted research at the Independence Hall of Korea, where she was the first scholar to examine the collections of private papers of So Chaep'il (1866 -1951) and An Ch'angho. In 1995-1998, she was a Korea Foundation Scholar in London.

Following the footsteps of her peripatetic subject, she has lived and worked in Washington, DC, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, London, Wiesbaden, and Seoul. She has been engaged in research and policymaking assignments for the United Nations, Harvard Business School, Library of Congress, and Sejong Institute, among others. Since 1995, she has presented her new discoveries on An Ch'angho at academic conferences in Europe and North America. She also appeared in a number of radio and television broadcasts as a bilingual scholar on the Korean nationalist movement in America.

Jacqueline is Korea specialist at the Library of Congress. Recently, she taught Korean history as a visiting professor and Henry Luce fellow at UCLA. Currently, she is writing a multi-generational family memoir as an odyssey between Korea and America.


Sang Joo Kim
Sr Fellow & Executive Vice President

ICAS Fellow