Our Vision for Cross-Currents

Sungtaek Cho, Research Institute of Korean Studies, Korea University
Wen-hsin Yeh, Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley




December 2011

Dear Cross-Currents Readers,

It brings us great pleasure to introduce our new quarterly e-journal to researchers around the world. Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review is a joint effort of Korea University’s Research Institute of Korean Studies (RIKS) and the Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS) at the University of California, Berkeley. It represents the culmination of years of trans-Pacific dialogue and collaboration between our two research institutes.

When the two of us first met in August of 2007, we agreed that there was an urgent need for frequent and open communication between Eastern and Western scholars regarding issues related to East Asian studies. As representatives of Korean and American institutes dedicated to this field, we decided to forge a new path for East-West scholarly communication. For nearly five years now, our organizations have engaged in countless emails, phone calls, and meetings with the aim of finding a way to overcome the distance and language barriers that separate scholars of East Asia. We came to the conclusion that an English-medium web platform would best provide academics with a fast and direct forum for sharing up-to-date research findings and engaging in open discussion. This innovative new form of academic collaboration has come together in Cross-Currents.

Cross-Currents is an e-journal from its inception, not simply an electronic version of a print journal. (Rather, the semi-annual print version of Cross-Currents will feature articles, reviews, and essays that have already received feedback from online readers and have been selected from its online counterpart for their scholarly excellence.) While the e-journal preserves the strength of traditional print journals with its rigorous peer review procedure, the online format allows us to include multimedia content and links to multilingual resources and relaxes constraints on word limits. It also allows our editorial board and readers to participate as active contributors in online discussions.

The innovative Cross-Currents platform is not limited to academics of a particular region, discipline, or language. Already, with the two Forums we convened in 2009 and 2011 to generate interest and support for this project, the development of a prestigious international editorial board, and the publication of this first issue of the e-journal, Cross-Currents has extended its community beyond the borders of Seoul and Berkeley. Through this virtual environment, we look forward to working with scholars from Shanghai to Tokyo and from Hanoi to Taipei in an online environment unfettered by the limitations of geography and language. We hope it will provide a meeting place for the world’s scholars so that East Asian studies can flourish.

We hope you enjoy reading this first issue of Cross-Currents. Please register as a site user so that you can offer feedback to our authors about their work and thereby participate in the trans-Pacific dialogue we have only just begun.


Sungtaek Cho and Wen-hsin Yeh