This June, Merose Hwang, Ph.D., associate professor of history and coordinator for the Asian studies minor and the Peace Corps Preparatory Program, will be attending a two-week-long seminar hosted by Kean University in New Jersey. The focus of the seminar, titled “The Search for Humanity After Atrocity,” is to examine genocide and other atrocities from the perspective of victims through a historical lens. Hwang has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to attend the seminar. The NEH invited applications from educators who “are open-minded souls who are eager to learn” and those “committed to interdisciplinary discussion and debate.”

In her own work, Hwang has studied and taught on atrocities, such as the mass killings in Japanese-occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945 and in South Korea during the Cold War, as well as the impact that these atrocities have on the stories and rituals of those communities. While participating in the “The Search for Humanity After Atrocity” seminar, Hwang will examine the Holocaust as a case study and review the memoirs written by Jewish community members at that time in order to understand the emotional demands on survivors.

After the seminar, Hwang hopes to bring the lessons she will learn to her own work and into the classroom and her existing courses involving atrocity studies. During her Shamans and Superstitions course last spring, Hwang assigned students to work with shamans and grassroots activists in Cheju, South Korea on issues of transformative justice. Select students will continue their studies, meeting with massacre survivors and their descendants, next year.

“I want my students to feel their connection to people who maybe seem the most foreign to them,” Hwang says. “More than spark their momentary curiosity, I wish to ignite their sense of global responsibility and gain their commitment to historical inquiry.”

To learn more about Hiram College’s history program, please use this link.

by Phil Eaves