Fault Lines: History and Geopolitics in East Asia | A Panel
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 4:00pm

November 15th

Karl Miller Center (KMC)
RM 285


North Korea’s recent provocations have brought the nation into the forefront. The threat of a nuclear attack has dominated the news cycle, drawing clear fault lines between the insular nation and the United States. As the largest country and world power in the region as well as North Korea’s historical ally, China has been endlessly exhorted to rein in North Korea and defuse the dangerous situation. But how strong are ties between China and North Korea today and how much influence does Beijing really have over Pyongyang? Does the escalating crisis fit into or impede China’s own interests and regional dominance? And where does South Korea, the longtime adversary of North Korea, fit into all this? The media’s attention on the personalities of Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump has left much context unexplored. Professors Kim, Cheung, and Ruoff—specialists on East Asia—will take up the issue of a nuclear North Korea and other fault lines within East Asia that have shaped the historical legacies of the region to help inform our understanding of recent events.


Ken Ruoff is professor in the modern history of East Asia and director of the Center for Japanese Studies at Portland State University. The Japanese translation of his first book The People’s Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy 1945-1995 was awarded the Osaragi Jiro Rondansha (widely considered to be equivalent to a Pulitzer Prize) in 2004, and earlier in 2017 Iwanami reprinted the Iwanami bunko version of the book. His second book Imperial Japan at its Zenith: The 2600th Anniversary Celebrations of the Empire of Japan, was awarded the Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction, and was also translated into Japanese. More recently, his essay criticizing how museums in Korea tell the national history was published in both Japanese and Korean. His 2018 winter course offerings include “Modern Vietnam through Film and History” and “Nationalism and Empire in Modern Japan.” 
Desmond Cheung is Assistant Professor of History at Portland State, where he teaches courses in Chinese, East Asian, and comparative world history. His research  mainly focuses on the history of imperial China, particularly the Ming dynasty. He is completing a manuscript on the historical sites of Hangzhou and is engaged in new projects on Chinese statecraft. In Winter 2018 he will be teaching courses on “Early Modern East Asia” and a comparative world history course on “Early Modern Cities: China and Europe”.
Danny Kim is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Portland State, specializing in Korean history. Drawing from two years of archival research at Seoul National University and Waseda University, his work focuses on Korean intellectuals who traveled to Japan for higher education during Japan’s colonization of Korea (1910-1945). A new addition to PSU in 2017, his teaching areas for the 2017-2018 academic year include a transnational history of Korea through diaspora, a “long history” of the northern half of the Korean peninsula, and the history and debates over the Comfort Women issue.




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