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North Korea's Cold War
Monday, February 27, 2012, 09:00am - 06:00pm
Mershon Center
1501 Neil Ave
Columbus, OH, 43201

Mitch Lerner

Mitchell Lerner, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Korean Studies at The Ohio State University

Perhaps no country in the modern era has perplexed Western observers as much as North Korea, a nation whose extraordinary secrecy and internal repression has generally prevented scholars from exploring its Cold War experience. As a result, the country remains to many an enigma, a land of provocation and intrigue that is often criticized but rarely understood.

Then came the liquidation of the Soviet empire, and with it a torrent of new information from the archives of North Korea's former communist allies. Records from the embassies of Russia, East Germany, Poland, Romania, Albania, Hungary, and elsewhere, pulled back the curtain of secrecy that had long enshrouded North Korea, and for the first time allowed outsiders to begin to understand the policies of the "Hermit Kingdom."

By utilizing these materials, this conference will examine the inner workings and foreign relations of North Korea during the Cold War, and in doing so will open a virtually unparalleled window into the nation's use of force and diplomacy during the Cold War and beyond. 


8:45-9 a.m. -- Coffee and pastries in Mershon Center Lobby

9-9:30 a.m. -- Welcome Remarks (Mitch Lerner and James Person)
9:30-11:30 a.m. -- Panel I - North Korea in the 1970s
Chair: Christopher A. Reed, The Ohio State University
Charles Armstrong, Columbia University
Juche and North Korea's Global Aspirations
Bernd Schaefer, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC
Overconfidence Shattered: North Korean Reunification Policy, 1971-1975
Ryoo Kihl-jae, Kyungnam University, South Korea
The Development of the North Korean Political System, 1965-1974

11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. -- Lunch
Marcus Noland, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights Into North Korea

1-3 p.m. -- Panel II - North Korea in the 1960s
Chair: Michelle Mood, Kenyon College
Gregg Brazinsky, George Washington University
China, North Korea, and the Third World in the 1960s
Mitchell Lerner, The Ohio State University
"Mostly Propaganda in Nature:" Kim Il Sung, the Juche Ideology, and the Second Korean War"
Yafeng Xia, Long Island University
The Arrogance of Certitude: Beijing's Grandiose Self-image and China's Deteriorating Relations with North Korea during the Cultural Revolution,1966-1969
Jooeun Kim, Georgetown University
The Origins of North Korea’s Brinkmanship Diplomacy

3-3:15 p.m. -- Break

3:15-5:00 p.m. -- Panel III - North Korea in the Early Cold War
Chair: Deborah Solomon, Otterbein University
Cheehyung Kim, Hanyang University
Post Korean War Socialist Order and North Korea’s Urban Reconstruction
James Person, History and Public Policy Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
From Anti-Formalism to
Self-Reliance: The Origins of North Korea's Juche Ideology, 1953-1956
Jongdae Shin, Kyungnam University, South Korea
The Response to the 1961 Park Chung-Hee coup

5-5:30 p.m. -- Closing Comments
Christian Ostermann, History and Public Policy Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Mershon Center for International Security Studies
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Office of International Affairs, The Ohio State University
Institute for Korean Studies, The Ohio State University


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