Intellectual History and Computing: Modeling and Simulating the World of the Korean Yangban

Thursday, January 5, 2017: 2:10 PM
Room 502 (Colorado Convention Center)
Javier Cha, Hong Kong University
The intellectual history of early modern Korea is defined by the coalescence of four major schools of Neo-Confucian thought and a number of literary trends. These developments took place at a time of increasing localization of population, material resources, state institutions, and what this paper will foreground: intellectual culture. The connections between the material and ideational aspects of the yangban aristocracy have been unclear, owing in large part to the reliance on case studies and the exclusive attention given to a small number of personalities, sources, and locations. To address this shortcoming, this talk presents some quantitative analysis of structured data as well as semi-supervised and predictive interpretation of a large corpus on the basis of diction, style, and figures of speech. The long-term objective is to create a simulation model for the social environment and textual world of the yangban in early modern Korea. The pilot run draws from three data sources: (1) the roster of 5,000 civil service examination degree holders; (2) 12,000 nodes representing their extended kinship network; and (3) an estimated 7 million characters of prose extracted from 200 collected works.