World History at

Teacher's Comment :

Woo, Na Young - A Historical Summary of Berlin's Architectural Controversy

In 1995 and 1996, the former Japanese Central Government Building in Seoul, from 1948 to 1985 used to house the parliament of the Republic of Korea, from 1985 to 1995 used as the National Museum, was torn down. It had been constructed in 1916-1926 with the intention to block the view from central Seoul to Kyungbukgung, the mail royal palace. Furthermore, seen from bird's eye view, the Central Government Building and Seoul City Hall together formed the Chinese characters meaning "Japan". This politically motivated demolition of a building of historical significance inspired Woo, Na Young to write a research paper about how society deals with historical monuments; Berlin was the obvious choice for her project. Unfortunately, she did not yet have the chance to visit the city.
Compared with history research papers written by her schoolmates, Na Young's paper stands out as it has a comparatively short reference list and no notes. For a paper like hers, notes and a long list of references are not necessary; the buildings, monuments and sites she discusses are generally known, the history of these buildings, monuments and sites easily accessible in tour guides and internet sites, as are surveys of the various periods of German history she refers to.
In her research, Na Young selected a number of buildings, monuments, sites the construction, damage, rededication or demolition of which in her view are representative for the various phases of German / Berlin history. She included a much larger number of edifices in her research than listed by Great Buildings, a site Woo, Na Young did not use. Her paper is not organized in chronological order, but by purpose (all representative, but in a different way). The result is a refreshing, original read, written in witty style, providing new angles on familiar history.

Na Young had about a year to work on her research paper. Na Young's Historical Summary of Berlin's Architectural Controversy, printed out, has a length of 36 pages single space. It compares to a third year college presentation and would provide an excellent foundation for an academic discussion of the topic. The paper is the result of a process of intellectual fermentation, rather than compilation of historical data. In September 2007 Na Young held a presentation on her research project, outdoing all her classmates in passion, spirit and audience rapport. An active student with a wide range of interests, she is more than ready to enter college.

November 15th 2007

Alexander Ganse

Woo, Na Young A Historical Summary of Berlin's Architectural Controversy