The Institute for Research on Early Civilizations (IREC)

The early civilizations of the world, as cradles of human development, have always been a source of excitement and wonder for Koreans. However, until recently, academic interest has focused on the civilization of early China, because of its close connection to the Korean cultural sphere. It has only been with the remarkable growth of the Korean economy in the late 20th century that a rich expansion of academic inquiry into other early civilizations has been made possible. Although this research is still in its nascent stage, translations of seminal works on early Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, and the Mediterranean have already started to fill the shelves of libraries and bookstores, and a growing number of young scholars have chosen to complete PhDs in these challenging and fascinating fields.

Now, the time has come to set the stage for these researchers to revel in the symposia of early civilizations. We truly believe that the IREC at Dankook University will be a pioneer for the research on early civilizations in Korea, for present and future generations. Our mission is as follows:

  • Research the origins of human civilization and its development
  • Research early civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Greece, Rome, Maya, Inca, and more
  • Foundational research on early states, cities, language, religion, society and economy, law, culture, warfare, and more
  • Comparative research on early civilizations
  • Facilitating discussions across multiple disciplines such as literature, history, philosophy, art-history, and archaeology
  • Active usage of methodologies from digital humanities
  • Setting academic goals and visions beyond the research scope of Korea and East Asia
  • Expanding and providing infrastructure for neglected and underrepresented fields
  • Providing a link between scholars of early civilizations and the broader audience

중국 북위시대(386-534) 사람 얼굴모양 묘지킴이(鎭墓獸), 산시성(山西省) 다통(大同)박물관 소장 ©심재훈