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Mershon Center Speaker Series
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Gregg Brazinsky
"Empathy at War: Emotions in Sino-North Korean Relations during the Korean War"
Monday, April 01, 2019, 12:00pm - 01:30pm
Mershon Center for International Security Studies
1501 Neil Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43201

Gregg Brazinsky

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Gregg A. Brazinsky works on U.S-East Asian relations and East Asian international history. He is interested in the flow of commerce, ideas, and culture among Asian countries and across the Pacific. He is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and Korean and is currently learning Japanese.

He is the author of two books: Winning the Third World (2017), which focuses on Sino-American Rivalry in the Third World, and Nation Building in South Korea (2007), which explores U.S.-South Korean relations during the Cold War.

Currently he is working on two other book projects. The first examines American nation building in Asia during the Cold War. The second explores Sino-North Korean relations between 1949 and 1992 and focuses specifically on the development of cultural and economic ties between the two countries.

He has received numerous fellowships to support his research including the Kluge Fellowship from the Library of Congress, the Smith Richardson Foundation junior faculty fellowship, and a fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Center. Brazinsky also currently serves as the director of the George Washington Cold War Group.


How did the Chinese and North Korean governments mobilize their citizens and soldiers during the Korean War? In this talk, Gregg Brazinsky will look at how they tried to foster a sense of mutual empathy among their people. For the newly created PRC, mobilizing the people to fight a dangerous and costly war against the United States was not an easy task. Through carrying out extensive political work among volunteers, it tried to make them understand and share the hardships, suffering, and tribulation that North Koreans were experiencing at the hands of the United States. To facilitate the development of a sense of emotional consanguinity, they were made to think of North Korean women as their own mothers and to consider North Koreans as part of their own families. The North Korean government made similar efforts to create popular empathy for the Chinese volunteers. State propaganda frequently talked about how Chinese families had sent their children to aid North Korea. The DPRK also used mass rallies and cultural performances to inculcate its citizenry with a sense gratitude for Chinese assistance and emphasize that Chinese and North Koreans were brethren who shared the triumphs and sorrows of war.

The Institute for Korean Studies is pleased to co-sponsor this event with the History Department and the Mershon Center for International Security Studies


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