The Moranbong Band and Regime Consolidation in the DPRK

Today, media in Beijing announced that the Moranbong Band, the all-female ensemble associated closely with Kim Jong-un, will be travelling to China for five days of performances. An academic paper I delivered last month about the Band is available in audio on SoundCloud; the accompanying Powerpoint is available at the following link: Moranbong Band presentation. Citation: Adam Cathcart, “The Moranbong Band and Regime Consolidation in the … Continue reading The Moranbong Band and Regime Consolidation in the DPRK

Trains, Trade, and Corruption: Dandong Data Points

While analysts were surely right to parse the dynamics of the 3 September parade in Beijing, the work of assessing the state of Chinese-North Korean relations needs to go well beyond seating charts, personalities, and speculation about Kim Jong-un. As the main juncture for bilateral trade, the Chinese border city of Dandong should be near the top of any short list of generally verifiable factual indicators of Chinese-North … Continue reading Trains, Trade, and Corruption: Dandong Data Points

Recent Writings and Commentary on North Korea

Essays ‘Purges, Baekdu, and the Moranbong Band: Data Points around General Hyon,’ Sino-NK, 16 May 2015  ‘Kim Jong-un’s vulnerability on display as North Korean rumours abound,’ The Guardian, 15 May 2015  ‘Satellites and State Media: Breaking Down Recent Execution Rumors,’ Sino-NK, 4 May 2015.  ‘Kim Jong-un: purges, paranoia, plots and the beloved leader’s cancelled trip to Moscow,’ The Conversation, 1 May 2015  Media Comment   Continue reading Recent Writings and Commentary on North Korea

Atrocities, Insults, and “Jeep Girls”: Depictions of the U.S. Military in China, 1945-1949

Controversy continues to surround various military occupations in East Asia in the 20th century. Specifically, the connection between military occupation and sex work carried out by women the occupied countries remains highly fraught. While the Japanese occupations of Korea and China have sparked the most fervent and intractable of the debates, a great deal of scholarship has been produced about East Asian societies which provided American … Continue reading Atrocities, Insults, and “Jeep Girls”: Depictions of the U.S. Military in China, 1945-1949

Researching the Moranbong Band: An Abstract

Even before Kim Jong-il’s tremulously-announced death in Dec. 2011, the North Korean musical-cultural apparatus-elite-complex was in valedictory mode, producing huge orchestral canatas that expressed a perfect –and complete– vision of the Dear Leader’s full contribution to the ongoing North Korean revolution. Had Kim Jong-un chosen to take up only these modes of cultural commemoration, they were clearly within his grasp. Instead, months after his father’s … Continue reading Researching the Moranbong Band: An Abstract

The Guardian’s North Korea Network, and a Note on Journalism, Fieldwork, and Academia

The Guardian has created a new North Korea Network, of which the web journal which I edit, Sino-NK, is very much a part. Graciously, the editors in London also saw fit to endorse my Twitter feed (@adamcathcart)  as a must-follow for micro-analysis of the DPRK and its foreign relations. There are, naturally, hard limits to the Guardian‘s partnership with our website. While I was in Yanji … Continue reading The Guardian’s North Korea Network, and a Note on Journalism, Fieldwork, and Academia

Enemies and Allies in North Korean Art and Archives, 1948-1952

This is the introduction to a paper which I prepared for an Association of Asian Studies panel on captured wartime documents in Korea, Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, 29 March 2014.  The panel was organized by Chuck Kraus and the discussant was Bruce Cumings. The images that accompany the presentation can be accessed via clicking on this link for PowerPoint slides. — Adam Cathcart Usually in modern … Continue reading Enemies and Allies in North Korean Art and Archives, 1948-1952

Moved to Leeds

As some readers may have noted, I have moved from my previous position at Queen’s University, Belfast, and am presently (and happily) lodged as a lecturer in history at the University of Leeds.  My new faculty webpage at the University of Leeds is here. In due course, I will be uploading more course material and links to my courses at Leeds, which in 2013-14 include … Continue reading Moved to Leeds

Ears Plugged, Fuses Lit

Just prior to the tolling of the bells that marked the turning of the year, I was fortunate to have an essay published in South China Morning Post on the subject of China’s leadership and the evolution of their attitudes toward North Korea. Written with two excellent co-authors (Roger Cavazos of Nautilus Insitute and Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga of London School of Economics), the full version of the essay … Continue reading Ears Plugged, Fuses Lit