Law and Order in Nineteenth-Century Korea: Translation and Analysis of Inquest Records

Collaborative Group

Professor Sun Joo Kim, Professor Jungwon Kim


East Asian Languages and Cultures, History


This collaborative book project explores multifaceted yet vibrant socio-cultural–legal aspects of nineteenth-century Korean society under the rule of the Confucian Chosŏn court (1392–1910), by translating and analyzing selected inquest records that contain the previously untold stories of people from all walks of life—men and women who were marginalized in male-centered history writing. The project examines these inquest records to understand traditional Korea’s legal institutions as well as to show how people’s motivations and choices were shaped separately from judicial construction, in accordance with their personal values and interests.

The project brings together two scholars with complementary expertise in early modern Korean and East Asian history. Sun Joo Kim is a leading scholar in social history as well as the history of marginalized people. Jungwon Kim, an emerging scholar, has been interested and trained in gender, family, and legal issues and has previously conducted research on the particular Korean legal archives.

Award period: July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2011