Qingming Huang (Ph.D. Candidate, Political Science) – “North Korea and South Korea: Monopolizing Nationalism in a Divided Peninsula”
Without far-reaching economic reforms as in China and Vietnam, North Korea manages to survive in changing international environments. The post-war autocratic regimes in South Korea failed to avoid regime collapse. Focusing on the period from independence to South Korea’s democratic transitions in the 1980s, Qingming Huang examines the ruling regimes’ efforts in constructing narratives of nationalism through literacy campaigns, museums, history textbooks, and education. He argues that the North Korean regime’s monopoly of nationalism helped it navigate through crises and continued to channel strength to the party, while the autocratic regimes in South Korea were more vulnerable to domestic challenges.
Jeeye Song (Ph.D. Candidate, Political Science) – “Treaty-Making and Colonization in East Asia: Vietnam and Korea in the Nineteenth Century”
How did the introduction of sovereignty result in the colonization of East Asian countries? The colonization process in Vietnam and Korea shows that their sovereignty was recognized only to be transferred to imperial powers through treaties to which they had allegedly freely consented. By the early 20th century, they lost their sovereignty and become colonies. By analyzing the treaties signed by Vietnam and Korea, Jeeye Song argues that the expansion of the European sovereignty system, which was supposed to enhance state independence in theory, ironically undermined emancipation of the newly formed states in East Asia and resulted in their colonization.