Chasing My Thesis From Harvard to Ewha
Chasing My Thesis From Harvard to Ewha
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2005.06.01 00:00
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▲ Lee spent a month of intensive studying and researching at Ewha.
- Photo provided by Lee Hee-jin
Lee Hee-jin (Harvard Univ., 4) came to study at Ewha in June 2004. Lee majors in East Asian Studies and Government.

   I spent the month of June last year at Ewha University in order to conduct research in Korea for my senior honors thesis, a year-long, intense and serious academic research project pursued by honors degree candidates in their final year at Harvard. In my thesis, I examined South Korea's role in shaping its security relationship with the United States during the Korean War armistice negotiations through the theoretical framework of sovereignty. Although the fighting stopped in 1953, the Korean War remains relevant to South Korea's current affairs as the armistice agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty between South Korea and the United States are still in effect today. My research was motivated by the conventional argument in the scholarly literature that South Korea simply followed the dictates of the United States during the armistice negotiations because South Korea was a small, weak, and newly established state. I challenged this position, arguing that the South Korean government at that time actively sought to obtain an outcome most satisfactory to its interests within the greater international system dominated by the United States. The actions of the South Korean government towards the United States from 1951 until 1953 demonstrated that it was a partial sovereign, rather than a non-sovereign entity that some assumed it to have been.
   I visited Korea last summer to obtain information sources unavailable in the United States. During this time, I lived on-campus at the International House and made frequent use of the Central Library. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to meet many Ewha students; not only were they busy with final exam preparations, but I was also working on a tight schedule. However, I became very fond of Ewha as I familiarized myself with the campus and the surrounding area. Despite having to travel up and down the hills from the International House to the entrance several times a day, I loved hearing the birds from the dorm and being able to see the Seoul cityscape. I was inspired by Ewha students working hard in the hot and humid readings rooms in the Central Library as well as the kindness of the copy room staff who painstakingly made copies of the many requests I submitted during my research. Overall, I had a very productive and enjoyable stay at Ewha, and I hope to be able to return to the campus in the future.

Lee Hee-jin (Harvard Univ., 4) came to study at Ewha in June 2004. Lee majors in East Asian Studies and Government.

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