Sovereign Peoplehood and Constitutional Founding in Postcolonial Korea

Colloquium | March 7 | 4-6 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Chaihark Hahm, Professor, Yonsei University

 Taeku Lee, Professor, Political Science, UC Berkeley

 Center for Korean Studies (CKS)

According to the preamble of the Korean constitution, it is 'We the People of Korea' that is drafting and promulgating the constitution as an expression of their sovereign will. But, who are these sovereign people, and how does one identify them? Are they the same as the ethnic Korean nation? Further, when the constitution is drafted under overbearing foreign influence, as was the case in postcolonial Korea, can we really say that the people are sovereign? And if the new constitution fails to categorically reject the evils of the past, as is often claimed to be the case in Korea, is the legitimacy of constitutional founding somehow compromised? Through a reflection on Korea's constitutional founding, Prof. Hahm will suggest a new approach to thinking about the relationship between popular sovereignty and constitution making.

About Professor Chaihark Hahm (Yonsei University)

Chaihark Hahm is Professor of Law at Yonsei University School of Law in Seoul, Korea. He teaches and writes on constitutional theory, comparative constitutional law, Confucian political theory, Korean legal culture and history, citizenship education, and human rights. Dr. Hahm received his legal training in both Korea and the United States: Seoul National University (LL.B. 1986), Yale (LL.M. 1987), Columbia (J.D. 1994), and Harvard (S.J.D. 2000). He also studied theology at Yale Divinity School (M.A.R. 1989).

He is currently based in Stanford during the 2016-2017 academic year as a Berggruen Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has held previous fellowships at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study and The Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law (2009-2010) and the National Endowment for Democracy (2001-2002).
Dr. Hahm is co-author (with Sung Ho Kim) of Making We the People: Democratic Constitutional Founding in Postwar Japan and South Korea (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and co-editor (with Daniel A. Bell) of The Politics of Affective Relations: East Asia and Beyond (Lexington Books, 2004). He is an editorial board member of I•CON: International Journal of Constitutional Law, and his works have appeared in American Journal of Comparative Law, Journal of Democracy, and I•CON, among others., 510-643-9787