On Memorial Day, and Korea

One day in May back in the 1990s, an old man stood about ten meters from a small flag on my father’s grave in Minnesota and gave a speech about Korea, the ‘forgotten war.’ For me, the war hadn’t been so much forgotten as learned and immediately neglected. One simple dot-matrix printout had been made (being a hoarder who needs to read everything multiple times … Continue reading On Memorial Day, and Korea

Talks in Singapore

I will be in Singapore from 12-18 January, giving a number of talks at junior colleges, and culminating with a conference with my UK colleagues at the ‘Imagining Asia Symposium‘ at Nanyang Technological University (more about that later). Last year’s lecture tour of Singapore was extremely enjoyable and I’m looking forward to revisiting old friends, making new ones, and interacting with what are unfailingly motivated … Continue reading Talks in Singapore

North Korea Commentitis

Since the non-events in North Korea seem to require some academic or historical context, I’ve been quoted these last few days in Le Monde, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. As my colleagues in the Leeds University School of History assured me today at a weekend undergraduate recruiting event, this is all great, because it’s not every day the media takes an … Continue reading North Korea Commentitis

The Joys and Sorrows of Peer Review

Is our peer review process in some way broken? Does it cause more grief than joy? My colleague Jon Sullivan  has done some writing on these kinds of issues as well, but I’d like to do a little more “thinking out loud” on this site with respect to the role that peer review plays in our lives as Sinologists & scholars. I find myself doing a … Continue reading The Joys and Sorrows of Peer Review

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

“Spit at the American Gentlemen” : North Korean State Media Rolls Out the Welcome Mat for Google

A short article released on January 10 in Pyongyang was fairly enervating, though no news media outlet seems to have picked it up yet. Nor, as Daniel Pinkston has pointed out already, has any Western media picked up on any of Pyongyang’s bellicose statements before, during, or after the Google visit. That’s an awfully odd way to report (or, more accurately, not report) on a country. Near the end … Continue reading “Spit at the American Gentlemen” : North Korean State Media Rolls Out the Welcome Mat for Google

Thickets, Brambles, and Snow: Why History is Needed for the Imposition of Clarity

In attempting to follow recent events in Northeast Asia in so-called “real time,” I have been struck by how completely incomprehensible the process truly is, and how partial.  Historians are also awash in data, but at least we have the luxury of seeing the event in its larger context and in relation, most importantly of all, to its outcomes.   (Perhaps this is why it … Continue reading Thickets, Brambles, and Snow: Why History is Needed for the Imposition of Clarity

A Note for North Korea Readers: Launching SinoNK

Amid the proliferation of China-related blogs on the Web, it is hoped that this blog has a place — be it stable, intermittent, annoyed, essential or otherwise — on your reading list. As 2011 comes to a close — and as the Kim Jong Eun era begins — I am pleased to announce that I will be migrating new writing about China’s relations with North … Continue reading A Note for North Korea Readers: Launching SinoNK

Notions of Incompleteness and Hope: Fragments for Future Appropriation

In his compact yet epic collection of short stories entitled Men Without Women, American writer Ernest Hemingway describes an Italian major who, bereft of a limb and then his wife, puts his broken faith in the new machines.  Hope, after all, has to be garnered in some fashion, even when the missing limbs continue to tingle, when one only wishes to stare out the window, … Continue reading Notions of Incompleteness and Hope: Fragments for Future Appropriation

A Few Things I am Working On

In the tradition of City Lights Books and Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “I Am Waiting,” I am working very slowly on a process and I am working on re-acquiring the previously acquired and I am working on the counter-offense, the protracted war, and the Kishi-inspired-insurgency that never ended and I am working on my fingernails badged by reprints of Hamburg Fremdblatt and news of bombs over the … Continue reading A Few Things I am Working On