Department of Korean Studies

Wednesday, 05 April 2017 12:03

Formed by Rector’s Decree #2970/1 of 3 April 2017 and opened on 1 June 2017, the Department of Korean Studies is the youngest at the FAAS. Nevertheless, the Department may lay claim to an over 120-year history.

Professional teaching of Korean at the Faculty of Oriental Languages of Saint-Petersburg Imperial University began as early as in 1897. That was the year when the Department of Chinese and Manchurian Philology was joined by Kim Byeong-ok, a translator with the Korean Diplomatic Mission who also had a Russian name – Evgeny Nikolaevich. The fact that Korean was not taught as a major did not prevent the publication in 1899 of the first professional Korean textbook in the world.

The life of Kim Byeong-ok, as well as the history of teaching Korean before the October Revolution of 1917, remains shrouded in mystery.

After Korea became a Japanese colony in 1910, the interest to Korea and the Korean Language, understandably, temporarily waned.

The situation changed following the liberation of Korea in 1945. Several departments dedicated to the study of the history, culture, and national liberation movements of the Orient were then founded at the Faculty of Oriental Languages of Leningrad State University. One of the countries that attracted the attention of the Faculty’s leadership was Korea (from 1948 – Korean People’s Democratic Republic and Republic of Korea).

In 1947, the Faculty began regular enrollment into the Korean Philology (Language and Literature) programme, presided over by A. A. Kholodovich, author of the first Russian book on Korean grammar. The Korean History programme was opened in 1947, headed by Prof. N. V. Kuehner, and from 1950 L. V. Zenina.

The students of the two major Korean studies specializations, however, studied at different departments. Philology majors studied at the Department of Chinese Philology. Between 1952 and 1962 there functioned an independent department of Korean Philology headed by A. A. Kholodovich. Korean Philology majors subsequently returned to the Department of Chinese Philology, later re-named the Department of Philology of China, Korea and the Countries of Southeast Asia. In 2011, an independent Department of Philology of Korea and the Countries of Southeast Asia was formed.

Korean History majors, meanwhile, studied at the Department of History of the Far East Countries. However, it was only in 1997 that enrollment into the Korean History programme, then supervised by S. O. Kurbanov, became regular.

In the 1950s-60s, apart from A. A. Kholodovich, Korean studies were taught by his former students A. G. Vasiliev, G. E. Rachkov (who went on to become a Tagalist), and Lim Su. The teaching of Korean history was headed by L. V. Zenina.

Along with academic staff of the Faculty of Oriental Languages, Korean studies were also taught by renowned Saint-Petersburg Orientalists, including M. I. Nikitina, A. F. Trotsevich, and M. V. Vorobyev.

Korean studies saw a dramatic change in the 1990s, after Russia established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea.

In 1995, A. G. Vasilyev, with support from South Korean partners, founded the Center for Korean Language and Culture, which launched the first professional scholarly journal in Russia dedicated to Korean Studies, Proceedings of the Center for Korean Language and Culture (ISSN 1810‑8008). As of 2016, 18 issues of the journal had been published.

In 2013, the Center for Korean Language and Culture became the Institute of Interdisciplinary Study of Korea (IMIK).

Thus, the over 120-year history of Korean studies at FAAS naturally resulted in the decision to set up an independent Department of Korean Studies.

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Department of History of the Far East Countries

Wednesday, 15 February 2017 18:45

The Head of the Department: Kolotov Vladimir N.


  • Ancient and Medieval History of China
  • Architecture of the Great Mughals
  • Basic Aspects of Protest from Lower Social Strata in Ancient and Medieval China
  • Buddhism
  • China and the Nomads of Central Asia in Ancient and Medieval History
  • Ethnography of China
  • Geography of China
  • History and Geography of Central Asia
  • History and Geography of India
  • History of Cambodia
  • History of Ideological Doctrines in Asian Countries
  • History of Japan
  • History of Pakistan
  • History of Russian-Siamеsе Relations
  • History of Modern Social Thought in China
  • History of Vietnam
  • History, Geography and Ethnography of Korea
  • History, Geography and Ethnography of Mongolia
  • History, Geography and Ethnography of Thailand
  • Medieval History of Southeast Asia
  • Modern History of Southeast Asia
  • New and Modern History of Asia and Africa
  • New and Modern History of China
  • Official Mongolian Documents of the XVII-XIX Centuries as Historical Sources
  • Political and Economic System of Modern India
  • Political and Economic System of Modern Japan
  • Political and Economic System of Modern Korea
  • Political and Economic System of Modern Thailand
  • Political and Economic System of Modern Vietnam
  • Political History of South Vietnam
  • Political System in the People’s Republic of China
  • Problems of Chinese History (XVII-XVIII Centuries)
  • Religious and Political Situation in South Vietnam
  • Russia and China: Developments in Mutual Perception, Images and Stereotypes
  • Secret Societies in China in the XVIII - early XX Centuries
  • Sources оn Ancient and Medieval History of China
  • Sources оn the History of India
  • Sources оn the History of Japan
  • Sources оn the History of Mongolia
  • Sоurсеs оn the History of Vietnam
  • Traditions of Historical Development and Modernisation (a Case of Indochina)
  • The Economic System in People’s Republic of China
  • Western Historiography оn East Asian Civilisations.

The Department offers training in the following areas of specialization: History of China, History of India, History of Korea, History of Vietnam, History of Vietnam and China, History of Malaysia and Indonesia. In addition to compulsory disciplines specified by the curriculum of history departments, students can choose from the following special courses and seminars: General and Specific in the Historical Development of Ancient and Medieval China, Secret Societies in China in the Modern Period, Traditions and Innovations in Chinese Folk Utopia in the Modern Period, Characteristics of Development of Major Regions in the PRC, Issue of Cultural Heritage in Contemporary China, Ancient Chinese Mythology, Everyday Life in Korea in the 16th-19th Centuries, North Korean Political History, History of the Delhi Sultanate, Muslim Movements in Indian Social Thought in the Second Half of the 19th Century, History of Manchuria in the 12th-19th Centuries, System for Conflict Management in South Vietnam in the Middle of the 20th Century.

The Department of History of the Far East Countries was established in 1949. Orientalist historians G. V. Efimov, L. A. Berezny, E. Ya. Lyusternik, D. I. Goldberg, N. V. Kuehner, and L. V. Zenina restored the tradition of teaching the history of the Far East countries that had been laid down in the nineteenth century by V. P. Vasilyev and S. M. Georgievsky.

In the 1950s-60s, the Department focused on the study of national liberation movements and international relations in the Far East (G. V. Efimov), contemporary history and historiography of Chinese history (L. A. Berezny), ancient and medieval Chinese history (G. Ya. Smolin), traditional Chinese historiography (B. G. Doronin), the history of secret Chinese societies and sects (B. M. Novikov), modern and contemporary Japanese history (D. I. Goldberg, L. V. Zenina), the issue of colonialism and national liberation movement in India (Yu. V. Petchenko), Russian-Indian relations (E. Ya. Lyusternik). New divisions were opened in the 1960s, including History of Thailand and Burma (B. N. Melnichenko), History of Indonesia (P. М. Movchanyuk) and History of the Philippines (B. G. Doronin). In the 1970s-80s, the research interests of the faculty turned to Chinese social thought (V. F. Gusarov, N. A. Samoilov), and religious and political history of Vietnam (V. N. Kolotov).

In recent years, the Department has been joined by specialists in the history of the countries of South-East Asia. From 1991, the Department has been exploring the relations between Russian and the countries of Eastern, Central, and South-East Asia, including the work of Russian Orthodox missions in these regions. The Department maintains links with universities and research institutions in Europe, America, Far East, and South-East Asia.

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