Toward a Transnational History of Manchuria and the Korean War [Updated]

In November 2014, I presented ‘Toward a Transnational History of Manchuria and the Korean War, 1945-1955’ at the Institute of Historical Research, as part of the Comparative Histories of Asia seminar series at the University of London Senate House at 5:30 p.m. GMT. Audio of the event is available; the formal speech starts at about the sixth minute. here:  OUTLINE I. Assessing the past 25 years of … Continue reading Toward a Transnational History of Manchuria and the Korean War [Updated]

Discussing the Korean War at AAS 2014

My panel, entitled “Utilizing the Captured Documents: New Perspectives on Society, Institutions, and Foreign Relations in Revolutionary and Wartime North Korea, 1945-1953,” has been accepted for the March 27-30 2014 annual meeting of the Association of Asian Studies. The panel, organized by Chuck Kraus at George Washington University, will feature Bruce Cumings (the foremost scholar of the war), myself, Chuck Kraus, and Youngjun Kim. Abstract: … Continue reading Discussing the Korean War at AAS 2014

Montage: Climate Change in China, Cold War Northeast Asia, and Occupy Seattle

Long and uninterrupted arcs of time being so few, why not describe ways in which readers might garner more than two hours of potential edification? 1. U.S.-China Cooperation vs. Climate Change // As this video from the hearing indicates, the U.S. House of Representatives recently had the USAID budget to China under scrutiny, or, more precisely, an appropriation of $3.95 million in foreign aid to … Continue reading Montage: Climate Change in China, Cold War Northeast Asia, and Occupy Seattle

Divided Labor: Two Classic Essays by Bruce Cumings

Every so often I return to  the two immense volumes of Bruce Cumings’ Origins of the Korean War, marvelling at their girth and intricacy. In my view, these works are worthy of the most basic form of praise — repeated and redeemed readings over a decade or two — not simply because the author launches multiple successful assaults from his battery of archival resources, but … Continue reading Divided Labor: Two Classic Essays by Bruce Cumings

Bruce Cumings Strikes North of the 47th Parallel: Seattle, May 4

How fitting is the congruity?  That not a score of hours after Chicago’s top historian swooped down out of the sky to deliver missives of exhortation to heed the still-trembling legacy of Japan in 1930s Manchuria, that I should find myself –scheduled by a previous version of myself! — watching the film Devils at the Doorstep / 鬼子来了? And then the historian echoed Perhaps on … Continue reading Bruce Cumings Strikes North of the 47th Parallel: Seattle, May 4

Koreanist Schisms: Myers, Cumings, Hitchens(?)

Now that even Christopher Hitchens is writing about the new North Korea book by Brian Myers, people are paying attention.  For once, at least, new arguments are being presented in a monograph about North Korea.  (Would anyone seriously argue that the world needs another travel memoir about a visit to Pyongyang?)  Myers extends upon his idea of North Korea as a state constructed out of … Continue reading Koreanist Schisms: Myers, Cumings, Hitchens(?)

French Press: East Asia Tropes

Le Monde Diplomatique (法国世界外交论衡月刊)is one of the more thoughtful periodicals from the French perspective on foreign affairs, available (partially) here in English (中文版打这儿).   The compendium of foreign affairs essays has a good track record of covering the North Korean perspective from various perspectives, to wit:  This essay by Chinese scholar Shen Dingli (of Fudan University in Shanghai, much hated on by rollback blogs like Joshua Stanton’s) argues that North Korea, even … Continue reading French Press: East Asia Tropes