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Temple Litigation and Korea’s Long 19th Century

Philip Gant, Harvard University, Tyler Fellow 2017–2019

I spent my first year at the Academy of Korean Studies and at Kyujang­gak Archives in Korea, collecting sources for my dissertation while training in paleography with field pioneers at both institutions. I visited temples named in the lawsuits I studied and learned to use manuscripts more fully and creatively. Immersion in the Dumbarton Oaks community in my second year meant reconceptualizing my project in conversation with the fresh approaches to which DO scholars and fellows opened my eyes, writing, thinking, and writing some more. I completed three chapters of my dissertation this year and head into the summer full steam on a fourth. Training in GLS to make a more careful study of the landscape enabled me to push my project into new realms such as water and administrative law, and more fundamentally, to bear out my conclusions in the physical terms of the land itself. Meanwhile, cataloguing and introducing DO’s collection of rare East Asian materials, I worked with new eras, places, and media (scrolls, prints, notebooks), as well as with emerging fields like Plant Humanities.