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This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Sixiang Wang. They speak about the exchanges between Choson Korea (1392-1910) and Ming China (1368-1644), the Korean envoys and interpreters who mediated between the two dynasties, the need of these interpreters to master spoken Chinese, the extensive body of language materials that were created for this purpose, and the invention of the Hangul script to systematically represent the phonology of Sino-Korean.

Sixiang Wang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA. He teaches courses in Korea’s premodern history as well as the history of cultural and intellectual interactions in early modern East Asia. As a historian of Choson Korea and early modern East Asia, his research interests also include comparative perspectives on early modern empire, the history of science and knowledge, and issues of language and writing in Korea’s cultural and political history. His current book project, “The Cultural Politics of Universal Empire: Knowledge and Diplomacy in Early Choson Korea 1392–1592” reconstructs the cultural strategies the Korean court deployed in its interactions with the Ming. Its examination of poetry-writing, gift-giving, diplomatic ceremony, and historiography underscores the centrality of ritual and literary practices in producing diplomatic norms, political concepts, and ideals of sovereignty in the construction of a shared, regional interstate order. Sixiang Wang received his PhD from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures of Columbia University. He was also a Mellon Scholar of the Humanities at Stanford University and the Moon Family Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.

*** The Sounds of Our Country: Interpreters, Linguistic Knowledge and the Politics of Language in Early Chosŏn Korea (1392–1592) (24) (PDF) The Sounds of Our Country: Interpreters, Linguistic Knowledge, and the Politics of Language in Early Chosŏn Korea | Sixiang Wang (王思翔) -

*** Sixiang Wang’s academic publications can be found at: Sixiang Wang – Historian, East Asia and Korea ()

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