Eugene Y. ParkOct 20, 2014
A Family of No Prominence
The Descendants of Pak Tokhwa and the Birth of Modern Korea
Stanford University Press 2014
Eugene Y. Park's A Family of No Prominence: The Descendants of Pak Tokhwa and the Birth of Modern Korea (Stanford University Press, 2014) traces this history by focusing on the Miryang Pak family. The history of transformations in the family's social status and geography parallels that of modern Korea, and each chapter treats these different levels of Park's story, extending from the medieval period through today. A Family of No Prominence is particularly reflective about the nature of genealogical history as a genre and practice, thoughtfully addressing the accuracy and reliability of family genealogies as historical source materials. Park also considers his place in the genealogy of the Miryang Pak clan, ultimately contextualizing his own historiographical experience within a larger story about the profound modern transformations in the ways that many Korean families think about and narrate the stories of their past.