SOAS University of London

Centre of Korean Studies

Writing North Korean social history

IMG - 20150911 - Workshop

Date: 11 September 2015Time: 9:00 AM

Finishes: 11 September 2015Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: L67

Type of Event: Workshop

A one-day workshop on new developments in North Korean history

Despite the ever-growing popular fascination with North Korea, general understanding of the country and its history is advancing much more slowly. At times it seems like a country without a history. A country where the society, from top to bottom, is inscrutable to historical knowledge. The outline of North Korea's political history is fairly well known and numerous books chart the rise of Kim Il Sung and the establishment of North Korea's monolithic political-ideological system. But beyond this our understanding of the country's history is obscured both by the DPRK state with its near total control of information about North Korea and substantial capacity for historical mythmaking, and by the preconceptions and narrow concerns of media and academia in the English-speaking world. This is reflected most sharply in a dearth of English-language works on the social history of North Korea.

Fortunately this situation has begun to change in recent years with the publication of books by Charles Armstrong and Suzy Kim, focusing mainly on the earliest period of North Korean history (1945-1950) and with new Korean-language work such as that of Sunghoon Han, focusing on the Korean War and the 1950s. This workshop will seek to bring together a number of scholars from around the world working on new social histories of North Korea as a way of further developing this new field of research.

Confirmed speakers
  • Suzy Kim, Rutgers University
  • Cheehyung Harrison Kim, University of Missouri
  • Andre Schmid, University of Toronto
  • Carl A. Young, University of Western Ontario
  • Adam Cathcart, University of Leeds
  • Owen Miller, SOAS, University of London
  • Koen de Ceuster, University of Leiden
  • Vladimir Tikhonov, University of Oslo

Programme and Speakers Biographies 

Organiser: Centre of Korean Studies and the British Association for Korean Studies a

Contact email:

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4893