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Korea and the World

Korea and the World interviews academics, professionals and intellectuals living and working in South Korea on current political, economic and societal issues.


#87 - Suk-Young Kim
News and discussions about technology in North Korea usually focus on the country’s nuclear programme. Often ignored, however, is the fact that, over the course of the past decade, consumer technology has also evolved. Maybe most importantly, cell phones have become increasingly widespread. They are now a common sight in the streets of Pyongyang and border cities. This is a momentous change which coincides with the emergence of a new generation, millennials, in North Korea. To learn more about the role that technology, and especially cell phones, plays in North Korean society, we had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Suk-Young Kim. She told us about North Korean millennials and their characteristics, where North Korea stands in terms of technology, how technology and foreign media consumption interact to produce emergent trust networks among North Koreans, and why North Korea’s regime permits the spread of such a technology in the first place. Suk-Young Kim is a Professor and Head of Theater and Performance Studies at UCLA. She received her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Theatre and Drama with a Certificate in Gender Studies from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her first book, Illusive Utopia: Theater, Film, and Everyday Performance in North Korea, was the winner of the 2013 James Palais Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies. More recently, she published K-pop Live: Fans, Idols, and Multimedia Performance. This episode was produced in cooperation and with the support of the East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University and its Title VI National Resource Center grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The interview was recorded on August 2nd, 2021 remotely from Columbus, OH.
59:52 10/25/2021
#86 - Stephanie Choi
One source of the success of K-Pop idols and groups, in Korea as well as abroad, can be found in their exceptionally active and dedicated fans. For many of them, being a fan goes beyond just listening their idols’ music; it also means buying and collecting merchandise, attending fan events and live recordings, or even translating appearances of their idols for global fans. These are costly endeavors, both in terms of money and time, yet they have become a hallmark of K-Pop’s fan culture. To learn more about the relationship between K-Pop idols and their fans, we spoke to Dr. Stephanie Choi. She told us about how fans act as both promoters as well as regulators of their idols’ activities, and about the role that intimacy plays in this relationship. We also discussed the origins of fan groups in Korea and their evolution over the decades; the kinds of labor fans engage in to ensure the success of their idol; the rules dictating fans-idol interactions; and the services that idols provide in return to their fans. Stephanie Choi is Adjunct Assistant Professor in East Asian Studies at New York University. She earned her Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She also holds an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University and a degree in Korean Music from Seoul National University. Interviews with Stephanie Choi have been featured in the New Yorker, NBC News, the Korea Herald, and the Korea Times, among others. This episode was produced in cooperation and with the support of the East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University and its Title VI National Resource Center grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
55:32 08/17/2021
#85 - John Delury
China is a key player on the Korean peninsula: it is not only North Korea’s sole ally, but has also become South Korea’s most important trading partner. Yet, the relationship it has with both Korean states is fraught with tension. Beijing’s hold over Pyongyang has been weakening under the rule of Kim Jong-Un, and Seoul’s alliance with Washington seems to be at odds with Chinese interests. To understand the relationships China has with both Koreas, we sat down with Professor John Delury. We talked about China’s place in the world and its evolution under the leadership of Xi Jinping, its relationship with South Korea during the Moon administration and with Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea, and about the role the United States plays in these relations. John Delury is Professor of Chinese Studies at Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Studies, in Seoul. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in History at Yale University. He wrote, together with Orville Schell, Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty-first Century, which was published in 2013. Professor Delury’s works have appeared in various publications including Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Asian Survey. This episode was produced in cooperation and with the support of the East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University and its Title VI National Resource Center grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
58:46 07/02/2021
#84 - Paul Y. Chang
The Korean family, how it functions and what it looks like, has fundamentally changed over the course of the past decades. The traditional extended family model has given way to the nuclear family and its variants; and Korean society has become more diverse with inter-ethnic marriages more common now than ever before. These changes are not only complex but also carry profound implications for the Korean society. To learn more about these societal dynamics, we met with Professor Paul Y. Chang. We talked about the demographic revolution that is currently taking place in Korea, how the government has tried to control the nation’s fertility rate since the middle of the 20th century and the challenges it now faces as a result of its past policies. Professor Paul Y. Chang is Associate Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. He received his PhD in Sociology from Stanford University in 2008. Professor Chang has published several book chapters and articles in various academic journals, including Mobilization, Sociological Forum, Asian Perspectives and the Journal of Korean Studies. His current project focuses on the emergence of non-traditional family structures in South Korea, including single-parent households, single-person households, and multicultural families.
51:11 09/23/2020
#83 - Merose Hwang
Shamanism has a long tradition on the Korean peninsula and describes a set of ethnic religions and practices. It remains in practice to this day, yet shamanism and the role it plays in Korea have changed significantly over time. In particular, the pre-colonial and colonial era saw a drastic shift in the position it enjoyed within the Korean society. To learn more about Shamanism during this period, we had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Merose Hwang. She told us about the origins of the word "shaman" in Korea, the Neo-Confucian critique of Shamanism, the approach the Japanese colonial government adopted regarding shamans and how these performed colonial drag. Professor Merose Hwang is Associate Professor of History at Hiram College. She wrote her dissertation on the Coloniality of Shamanism and has since then published various articles on the topic. Professor Hwang received her PhD from the department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto.
53:48 10/25/2018
#82 - Juhn Ahn
Introduced to Korea during the first millenia, Buddhism has a long history on the Peninsula and remains until today a major influence on the Korean society. This is nothing, however, compared to the clout it enjoyed as state religion during the Koryo period, from the 10th until the end of the 14th century. What caused the downfall of Buddhism in Korea? A popular argument is that Buddhism had become so powerful and corrupt that the state needed to suppress it. Professor Juhn Ahn opposes this Confucian critique and we had the pleasure of interviewing him on the matter. After an overview of the current narrative, he told us about the societal shifts of the late Koryo dynasty, the problematic integration of newcomers into the Korean elite and how these factors led to the fall of Buddhism’s popularity. Professor Juhn Ahn is Assistant Professor of Buddhist and Korean Studies at the University of Michigan. In addition to various articles on East Asian Buddhism, he also has a forthcoming book on the subject: Buddhas and Ancestors: Religion and Wealth in Fourteenth-Century Korea. Professor Ahn received his PhD in Buddhist Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
47:41 03/27/2018
#81 - Mitchell B. Lerner
The early days of 1968 brought North Korea into the world’s headlines. Not only did Pyongyang send clandestine forces in an attempt to assassinate the South Korean President in his residence, but North Korea also attacked and captured the American ship USS Pueblo in international waters. One of the crew members died, the other 82 were imprisoned and tortured for eleven months - and released only after their government admitted that the ship was spying on North Korea. To hear about the historical and political context of this story as well as about the details of the USS Pueblo’s capture and the fate of its crew, we spoke to Professor Mitchell Lerner. In particular, he told us about the questionable suitability of the ship for its mission and the flawed risk analysis carried out by the American government, which casts this incident as an avoidable tragedy. Professor Mitchell B. Lerner is Associate Professor at the Department of History at The Ohio State University as well as director of the school’s Institute for Korean Studies. Aside from numerous academic articles, he wrote the book The Pueblo Incident: A Spy Ship and the Failure of American Foreign Policy, which was published in 2002. Professor Lerner received his PhD in History from the University of Texas at Austin.
44:17 09/10/2017
#80 - Dong-Won Kim
Star Wars and Star Trek are among the highest-grossing movie franchises worldwide - yet they usually do not feature among the most successful films released in South Korea. This illustrates a larger trend: Science Fiction, may it be in the form of movies or books, is not particularly popular in South Korea. In contrast to that, North Korea has a rich tradition of Science Fiction. To hear more about how the perception and role of Science Fiction differ in the two Korean states, we had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Dong-Won Kim. He told us about the conceptions of technology, society and the future that underpin Science Fiction in South and North Korea, and about how the works of Science Fiction produced in the two countries differ from each other. Dong-Won Kim is Lecturer in Science, Technology and Society (STSC) at the University of Pennsylvania. He obtained his Bachelor degree from Seoul National University, and his Master and PhD from Harvard University's Department of the History of Science. Previously, he was Dean of the College of Cultural Science at KAIST in South Korea, visiting professor at Harvard University and the National University of Singapore as well as John Hopkins University.
34:29 04/26/2017
#79 - Kyung Moon Hwang
When did Korea modernize? For many the answer lies in the colonial era. While broadly accepted, this view is not without flaws or opponents. One of these critics, Professor Kyung Moon Hwang, offers an alternative perspective. He argues that Korea's modernization is not just a result of Japanese influence. It was a rational process already started in the 19th century during the Joseon dynasty by the government. To learn more about the modernization of the Korean peninsula, we met with Professor Hwang. He told us about the role the Joseon administration played in this process, the pivotal nature of the Gabo reforms, as well as the different rationalities that directed the development of the Korean peninsula before and during the colonial era. Kyung Moon Hwang is Professor of History and East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California. He obtained his Bachelor in History from the Oberlin College before pursuing graduate studies at Harvard University, where he received his PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. He is the author of Rationalizing Korea – The Rise of the Modern State, 1894-1945 (University of California Press) and of A History of Korea – An Episodic Narrative (Palgrave Macmillan).
53:31 03/14/2017
#78 - Robert S. Ross
As many observers argue, China’s foreign policy has become more assertive since Xi Jinping became President in 2013. The country once advocating its "peaceful rise" has stoked worries in many of its neighbors and is seen to increasingly pose a challenge towards America’s strong presence in the region. Caught in-between are the two Korean states, and especially South Korea, both in terms of its geographic location as well as its political and economic relations. To learn more about China's recent foreign policy and the prospects for the future of the region, we had the honor of interviewing Professor Robert S. Ross. We discussed the driving forces behind China’s foreign policy; what role America wants to, should and does currently play in East Asia, and the position of the Korean Peninsula in this context. Robert S. Ross is Professor of Political Science at Boston College, an Associate at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies of Harvard University, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has written extensively on Chinese security and defense policy, as well as on East Asian international relations, in several books and numerous academic articles. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University in 1984.
42:03 12/24/2016
#77 - Janet Poole
From 1910 to 1945, Japan ruled over the Korean Peninsula and tried to assimilate the Korean people into its empire. Part of this ambition was the suppression of the native language, for example by ending Korean language education and newspapers. Under these circumstances, the peninsula’s authors had to find new forms of creative expression – and despite these difficulties they produced insightful fictional works, even during the last, and most oppressive, decade of Japan’s colonial rule. To learn more about the literature from this era, and about the conditions under which it was produced, we had the pleasure to interview Professor Janet Poole. She spoke to us about some of the authors of this period, the characteristics of their writings, and about what happened to them and the reception of their works after the colonial period. Janet Poole is Associate Professor of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Two years ago she wrote “When the Future Disappears: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea” (Columbia University Press). Poole received her PhD in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University, her MA in Korean Literature from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and a BA in Japanese and Korean from the University of London.
72:23 11/28/2016
#76 - Jonathan D. Pollack
The relations between South Korea, Japan and the United States are often described as triangular. The two Asian countries have been long-time alliance partners of America, and all share common interests, such as the denuclearization of North Korea. Yet this North East Asian triangle is facing an uncertain future, and while it has to adapt to the rise of China, America debates its role in the region, and South Korea and Japan keep clashing over historical disputes. To learn more about these challenges for the relationship between the three countries, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jonathan D. Pollack. He spoke to us about the paradoxical realities of East Asia’s international relations, South Korea’s and Japan’s different perceptions and agendas, and about the implications of these issues for the United States and its presence in the region. Jonathan D. Pollack is the Interim SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies in the Center for East Asia Policy Studies and a senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. Previously, he was a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and worked for the Rand Corporation. Jonathan Pollack has written numerous books and articles on East Asia’s international relations and received his MA as well as his PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan.
27:33 10/29/2016
#75 - Catherine Ceniza Choy
In the past fifteen years, families in the United States have adopted more than 200.000 children from other countries, and over 20.000 from South Korea. The origins of America’s status as an adoption nation lie in the years after the Second World War and oftentimes in humanitarian intentions. Yet, adoptions are also linked to problematic phenomena, from racial preferences on the side of adopters to economic interests in the adoptees’ home countries. To learn more about the adoptions that link America and Korea, we had the pleasure to interview Catherine Ceniza Choy. She spoke to us about the historical roots of this phenomenon and the intentions that drive it, the particular development of adoptions from Korea to the United States, and the many interpretations and problems that arise from them. Catherine Ceniza Choy is Professor of Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley. She is the author of the book “Global Families - A History of Asian International Adoption in America” (NYU Press) as well as various journal articles and another book on international adoption. Choy received her PhD in History from the University of California in Los Angeles, an MA from the same school and a BA from Pomona College.
69:47 10/14/2016
#74 - Bonnie Tilland
In South Korea, child-rearing still remains first and foremost the responsibility of mothers. Pressures from society – and frequently their own families – create expectations as to what children ought to do, eat, and learn. In opposition to these social constraints, mothers employ different strategies and rationales to give their children the best life possible. To learn more about how women steer the childhood and aspirations of their offspring, a well as their own self-development, we had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Bonnie Tilland. We discussed the relations women maintain across generations, with their parents and parents in law, but also with their own children, how women contest the narrative of "national strength" and other social constructs through their mothering, and how they conceive the future of their children as they grow up. Bonnie Tilland is Professor at the EASTASIA International College (EIC) of Yonsei University's Wonju campus. She obtained her PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Washington. She also completed a graduate certificate in Feminist Studies and a Master's in International Studies (Korea Studies) from the same institution, as well as a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Lawrence University.
56:16 09/27/2016
#72 - Nadia Kim
Around two million ethnic Koreans live in the United States. This makes them the second largest Korean diaspora, after the one in China; Los Angeles and New York even have the largest Korean populations outside of cities on the Korean Peninsula. Koreans in America have been referred to as a “model minority” due to their educational and economic achievements; yet they also face racial discrimination and isolation. To learn more about how Koreans have navigated American issues of race and inequality, we met with Professor Nadia Kim. She told us about the history of Korean migration to the United States and the role of America’s military presence in Asia; the socialization process of immigrants that already starts on the Korean Peninsula; and the hardships Korean immigrants face once they arrive in the US. Nadia Y. Kim is Associate Professor of Sociology at Loyola Marymount University. She obtained her Bachelor at the University of California - Santa Barbara and received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She was also a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California - San Diego. Her most recent book and the subject of this interview is Imperial Citizens: Koreans and Race from Seoul to LA (Stanford University Press).
74:19 08/29/2016
#73 - Jeffrey Robertson
South Korea’s international relations have been extensively studied, from its security policies to its approach to foreign aid. But while the country’s diplomats are at the center of its relations with the world, little research has been done on their actual work and South Korea’s diplomatic culture. To hear more about South Korea's diplomatic style, we had the honor of meeting with Professor Jeffrey Robertson. He spoke to us about the importance of understanding countries’ diplomatic styles, South Korea's diplomatic culture as well as its unique characteristics and the generational change it is currently undergoing. Jeffrey Robertson is a Visiting Fellow at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy (APCD) at the Australian National University (ANU) and an Assistant Professor at Yonsei University. In the past, Professor Robertson worked for the Australian Government in the field of foreign policy and North Asia; his most recent book "Diplomatic Style and Foreign Policy" (Routledge) explores the insight gained through the recognition and comprehension of diplomatic style.
38:39 07/04/2016
#71 - Steven Denney
South Korea’s democracy is experiencing some eventful years. Last April, the ruling Saenuri party saw an unexpected loss in the parliamentary elections; and next year. in late 2017, President Park Geun-hye’s term in office will end as new presidential elections are conducted. Until then, the opposition parties will likely try to consolidate and attempt to create a unitary platform around a single candidate in order to capture the Blue House. To learn more about South Korea's democracy, we met with Steven Denney after April’s parliamentary elections. We took a look back at the first three years of President Park Geun-hye's presidency and spoke about the attitudes and peculiarities that shape the country’s democratic process. Additionally, we asked for his opinion about the voices that see South Korea’s democracy threatened by the authoritarian tendencies of the current administration. Steven Denney is a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Toronto and a doctoral fellow at the Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs. In addition to various academic articles, Steven Denney is also a frequent contributor to The Diplomat and the Managing Editor of
52:27 07/04/2016
#70 - Sharon Yoon
Over the course of the past few decades, the People’s Republic Republic of China opened up and became a land of economic opportunity not only for South Korean companies but also for individual entrepreneurs. Today, over 70.000 South Koreans reside in Wangjing, a district of Beijing known as the city’s Koreatown. The enclave’s quick development has also attracted numerous Chinese citizens of Korean descent from Northern China who made it their home. To learn about how Korean Chinese and South Koreans live with each other in Wangjing, we had the honor of meeting with Professor Sharon Yoon. She told us about the history of Korean migration to China, the Korean enclave in Beijing as well as the difficulties Korean Chinese and South Koreans face when interacting with each other. Sharon Yoon is Assistant Professor at Ewha Womans University. She obtained her Bachelor in Asian Studies and Sociology from Dartmouth College and her PhD in Sociology from Princeton University. Before joining Ewha, Professor Yoon was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and at Osaka University.
60:01 06/30/2016
#69 - Mark Lippert
Just like South Korea is one of America’s most important partners in Asia, so is the United States a key ally for South Korea. The importance of this relationship is visible: the embassy of the United States sits right in the city center of Seoul and more than 25.000 American soldiers are currently stationed throughout the country. In opinion surveys, South Koreans state that they view the United States in a more positive light than any of their regional neighbors. An important role in the day-to-day management of this relationship is played by the diplomatic staff of the United States in South Korea. We had the unique opportunity to meet Mark Lippert, the current Ambassador of the United States to South Korea, as well as his staff and his basset hound Grigsby in his residence in Seoul. In our brief interview we spoke about his position and responsibilities, America’s perspective on regional issues and President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia.” Ambassador Lippert obtained his undergraduate and master's degrees from Stanford University, respectively in political science and international policy studies. Before he became Ambassador to South Korea in 2014, he was Chief of Staff for President Obama’s National Security Council and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs.
11:16 06/21/2016
#68 - Scott A. Snyder
Relations between Japan and South Korea are perplexing: the two countries are major trade partners and popular tourist destinations for each other’s people, they are democracies in a region with numerous authoritarian regimes and alliance partners of the United States. Yet, despite all this, their relations are troubled by territorial and historical issues that limit mutual understanding and cooperation. To learn more about these contentious relations, we met with Scott Snyder to talk about his latest book, The Japan-South Korea Identity Clash: East Asian Security and the United States (Columbia University Press), which he wrote together with Brad Glosserman. We discussed the two countries' identities and perceptions of each other, the role that Japanese and Korean political leaders play in this context, the stakes that the United States has in this situation – and a possible way forward. Scott Snyder is Senior Fellow for Korea studies and Director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a think tank based in Washington D.C. He has received his BA from Rice University and his MA from the regional studies East Asia program at Harvard University. He was also a Thomas G. Watson fellow at Yonsei University in Seoul. We previously interviewed him in Episode 22 about South Korea’s role as a Middle Power.
36:20 06/01/2016
#67 - Rennie J. Moon
South Korea is going to great lengths to attract international university students, for example through scholarships and programs taught in English. Over the past decade, the number of foreign students has increased eightfold and now over 85.000 foreign students attend Korean universities. But while welcome on paper, they find themselves in a largely homogeneous society in which multiculturalism is a contentious issue – and this causes friction. To learn more about the situation of these students and multiculturalism in the Korean education system, we had the honor of interviewing Professor Rennie Moon. We discussed the different types of multiculturalism present in universities, the factors motivating student to come to Korea, the barriers limiting interactions between Korean and foreign students, as well as the role of foreign faculty members within the Korean education system. Rennie J. Moon is an Assistant Professor at the Underwood International College of Yonsei University with a focus on higher education in the context of globalization. Her research and writings have been published not only in academic journals but also in newspapers, such as the Comparative Education Review, the Donga-Ilbo and Korea Daily Joongang Ilbo. Professor Moon obtained her Bachelor’s degree at Wellesley College and her PhD in International Comparative Education at Stanford University.
45:26 05/19/2016
#66 - Bonnie S. Glaser
The events on the Korean peninsula don’t take place in a vacuum; they are influenced by the great powers that have a stake in the region. The People’s Republic of China, in particular, makes its weight felt: it is the largest trade partner of both Korean states and considered by many to be the linchpin in the international disputes surrounding North Korea. But while China has long been reluctant to put pressure on Pyongyang, recent developments in the North Korean nuclear program have seemingly led it to reconsider its position. To better understand China's foreign policy since Xi Jinping became President more than three years ago and its position with regards to North Korea, we had the honor of meeting with Bonnie S. Glaser. She spoke to us about the growing assertiveness of China in international affairs, the role its President plays in these changes, China's perception of North Korea, and the future prospects for the region. Bonnie S. Glaser is a senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Previously, she served as a consultant for various U.S. government offices, including the Departments of Defense and State. Her writings have been published various in academic journals and newspapers, including the China Quarterly, Asian Survey, and International Security as well as in The New York Times. Bonnie Glaser received her B.A. in political science from Boston University and her M.A. with concentrations in international economics and Chinese studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
54:15 05/05/2016
#65 - Jun-Sok Huhh
South Korea is one of the world’s largest market for video games and famous for the success of its competitive players. A core element of the country’s gaming culture are the so-called PC Bangs: internet cafés with a focus on competitive online gaming. They are ubiquitous in South Korea, cheap and equipped with up-to-date gaming computers, and usually open around the clock. In order to learn more about the workings, culture and history of PC Bangs -- and about why they are popular in Korea but virtually unknown elsewhere -- we spoke to Jun-Sok Huhh. As he argues, their emergence is the result of the country’s historical circumstances during the 1990s, they have shaped what games Koreans play and how they play them, but are now struggling in the face of recent developments in the gaming industry. Jun-Sok Huhh is game industry analyst at NCSoft, one of South Korea’s largest game development companies. He obtained his Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees in Economics from Seoul National University and has written multiple academic papers on the culture, business and history of PC Bangs and gaming in South Korea.
29:44 04/20/2016
#64 - Olga Fedorenko
At first glance, advertisement in South Korea is no different from what can be seen in many other countries. At the same time, the country’s political, economic and social history has shaped how goods and services are promoted, and what is seen as the right way to do so. To learn more about South Korean advertising, its unique features and its industry, we met with Professor Olga Fedorenko. We talked about the history of South Korean advertising, its relation to democracy, why it has been described in South Korea as the "flower of capitalism," and how advertisement was and is an arena where social norms are renegotiated. Olga Fedorenko is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Seoul National University. She obtained her Bachelor in Korean studies from the Institute of Asian & African Studies at Moscow State University and holds an MBA from Yonsei University. She completed her PhD in East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. She has published various articles and chapters on advertising in South Korea and is currently working on a book manuscript: Flower of Capitalism - South Korea Advertising at Crossroads.
44:48 04/05/2016
#63 - Remco Breuker
While Europe experienced the Middle Ages and waged war in the Crusades, the Korean peninsula was ruled by the Koryo dynasty, which lasted from 918 to 1392 AD. This era is remembered for the unification of the previous three Korean kingdoms, its pottery, Buddhist wood carvings and movable type technology; yet there is comparatively little popular knowledge about the period’s political system and society. To learn more about the Koryo dynasty, we had the privilege of meeting with Professor Remco Breuker who discussed with us some of its characteristics and especially its pluralistic nature. Professor Breuker is Professor of Korean Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He obtained his PhD from the same university and pursued graduate studies there as well as at Seoul National University. He has published on Korean history in various academic journals, translated numerous modern and historic texts from Korean, and is the author of Establishing a Pluralist Society in Medieval Korea - History, Ideology, and Identity in the Koryŏ Dynasty, which was published in 2010
66:46 03/23/2016
#62 - George Vitale
One of Korea's most successful exports is Taekwon-Do: a martial art practiced by tens of millions around the globe and recognized as an olympic sport since the 2000 games in Sydney. Yet, far from being united, the world of Taekwon-Do has suffered various schisms. The story of its founder is as disputed as it is marred in the politics of the Korean Peninsula, and as a discipline Taekwon-Do is represented by two competing organizations on the international stage. To learn more about the history of Taekwon-Do and the life story of its founding father, General Choi Hong Hi, we had the honor of interviewing Dr. George Vitale. He kindly offered to guide us through the complex politics of Taekwon-Do, the endeavors of General Choi, and of course the distinctive aspects of this modern martial art. Dr. Vitale holds an 8th dan -- the second highest rank -- in Taekwon-Do and was inducted into the Official Taekwon-Do Hall of Fame in 2009 for his lifetime achievements, and provided assistance to Grandmaster Jung Woo-Jin in bringing a team of North Korean athletes to tour the United States. He is also the first (and only) American to have earned an academic PhD (in Taekwon-Do) from North Korea in 2011. He previously served for over two decades in the New York State Police, which included a senior role in the security detail for two New York State governors.
81:34 03/08/2016
#61 - Daniel Pinkston
For the past two decades, North Korea has repeatedly caused international concern with its development and testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. But while the political aspects of these programs receive plenty of media attention, it is difficult to gain a realistic picture of the technologies at work, their effectiveness and the actual stockpiles in North Korea. To learn more about North Korea's weapons programs, and especially the country’s missiles, we had the pleasure of interviewing Daniel A. Pinkston, lecturer in International Relations with Troy University in Seoul. Professor Pinkston is also the Northeast Asia Deputy Project Director for the International Crisis Group in Seoul and, before that, was director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Middlebury College. Professor Pinkston received his M.A. in Korean studies from Yonsei University and his Ph.D. in international affairs from the University of California, San Diego. He wrote The North Korean Ballistic Missile Program (2008) for the Strategic Studies Institute, and has published various academic articles and book chapters on security issues on the Korean peninsula.
40:16 02/21/2016
#60 - Sokeel Park
For North Korean defectors, escaping from North Korea is only the beginning of a long and perilous odyssey towards permanent resettlement in South Korea or elsewhere. The overwhelming majority of defectors start their journey by crossing the Chinese border, stepping foot into a land where they risk arrest and repatriation should they ever be caught. Their status as illegal immigrants makes them vulnerable to all kinds of exploitation, such as forced labor, human trafficking and prostitution. One organization helping defectors on the ground and smuggling them out of China is Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), a non-governmental organization headquartered in the United States. We had the pleasure of interviewing its Director of Research & Strategy, Sokeel Park, who talked to us about the dangers defectors face in China and LiNK’s mission to provide them with much needed relief and support. Sokeel Park worked for the Korean government and the United Nations before joining LiNK’s Seoul office, where he is charge of research and global media outreach. He belongs to the community of Global Shapers of the World Economic Forum and has lectured about North Korea and LiNK’s operations around the world. Sokeel Park holds a Bachelor in Psychology from the University of Warwick and an M.A. in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
52:37 02/14/2016
#59 - John Delury
North Korea and China have a special relationship. The two countries are each other’s only military alliance partners, and China is commonly seen as shielding North Korea from the discontent of the international community. But while this relationship started as an ideological alliance and was forged in blood during the Korean War, it has seemingly become of a more pragmatic nature in recent years. In order to understand the history of Sino-North Korean relations better, we sat down with Professor John Delury. We talked about the premodern interactions between China and the Korean peninsula and the insights they hold for the situation today, about the distrust that has long characterized relations between China and North Korea, and about where the countries stand today with regards to each other. John Delury is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at the Graduate School of International Studies of Yonsei University in Seoul. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in History at Yale University. In 2013, he published with Orville Schell the critically acclaimed Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century (Random House). Professor Delury’s writings have appeared in various publications including Foreign Affairs, 38 North and Asian Perspective.He is also active on Twitter.
48:45 02/07/2016
#58 - Andrei Lankov
It’s been four years since Kim Jong-un came to power in North Korea after the death of his father in 2011. To assess how the comparatively young and inexperienced leader has been doing so far, we had the pleasure of meeting with Andrei Lankov, the guest of our first episode. With him we spoke about Kim Jong-un's approach to the North Korean economy, the country’s relationship with China, the impact and value of the international community’s sanctions, and whether North Korea has become more stable ever since it is in the hands of Kim Jong-un. Andrei Lankov is Professor of Korean Studies at Kookmin University. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Leningrad State University and also attended Pyongyang's Kim Il-sung University. He has published books in English and Russian and contributes to various news outlets, including The Korea Times and Al Jazeera.
56:50 01/31/2016