Resources on North Korean Music Diplomacy

  One strand of my ongoing academic work as a historian of Northeast Asia concerns music and cultural diplomacy in and by North Korea. My published online work on this topic generally does a few things. It: – tries to understand what the music scene means for broader cultural changes in Kim Jong-un’s Korea; – documents which ensembles seem to be in the favour of … Continue reading Resources on North Korean Music Diplomacy

Kim Ki-nam and North Korea’s Orchestral Politics

Kim Jong Eun commands attention for obvious reasons. His charismatic heft, however, also manages to obscure a number of the other personalities at the apex of North Korean politics who arguably do more to make the whole system run. Within this group there are a small handful of individuals who deserve a great deal more critical attention, and none more so than Kim Ki Nam. … Continue reading Kim Ki-nam and North Korea’s Orchestral Politics

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

“US-China Musical Diplomacy” at the US Consulate in Chengdu

  25 July 2011 Dr. Adam Cathcart Sino-U.S Relations Lecture at the Chengdu U.S Consulate [Transcription by Mycal Ford, Pacific Lutheran University] Part I: Conflict and Culture: It is often thought that the answer to conflict is culture (wenming). The notion that we should focus on culture to become calm and ease tensions is especially true in China, with its emphasis on “harmony” (hexie), but maybe … Continue reading “US-China Musical Diplomacy” at the US Consulate in Chengdu

A Little Musical Diplomacy

China is presently thundering its way into some heavily-historically-documented commemorations of the 60th anniversary of the PLA’s arrival in Tibet, while at the same time bringing the rhetorical hammer down in a headline Huanqiu op-ed unsubtly entitled “The West, Sympathizers to ‘Xinjiang Independence’ Terrorism.”  As assertive nationalism and an emphasis on “social stability” (and the threats that forces external to China pose to the country’s … Continue reading A Little Musical Diplomacy

Catching Up on French Reports from China

Today, prepping a piece on Ai Weiwei in the German press, I popped a few dozen links (beginning with my own “European Sources on East Asia” in my homepage sidebar) and was quickly swimming in excellent, original data from the Francophone world. Why not share it? Like this television report from Beijing about the luxury trade in China and those who work in both its … Continue reading Catching Up on French Reports from China

Karaoke Will Save the World

What to do when you’ve had a bad year?  How to press forward, gamely or doggedly, with the new tasks thrust upon you by time and those relationships whose original justifications have long since slipped away? Sing some revolutionary songs, that’s what! Liu Xiaoming, the dapper Anglophone and Tufts-educated Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK, is being reassigned to London.  Reflecting North Korea’s tenacious reliance on … Continue reading Karaoke Will Save the World

Successful Musical Diplomacy

One area of research competence and interest for me involves musical diplomacy, particularly as it has effected the US-China bilateral relationship.  I spoke about the topic at this State Department conference in 2006 where I met Christopher Hill and got in his ear (and those of other State officials including Asst. Secretary of State for East Asia Tom Christensen) about using music as a channel … Continue reading Successful Musical Diplomacy

Kamikaze Mozart [II]

[Updated and augmented, May 31, 2009] The novel Kamikaze Mozart interests me greatly for several reasons, most of which are superficial but nevertheless persistent.  (Perhaps this description holds in many respects to my own approach as well.)    These reasons include extended discussion of Japanese classical musicans during the Second World War, a wonderfully intriguing topic.  It encompasses cultural exchanges, the life of the musican, … Continue reading Kamikaze Mozart [II]