Speaker: Sergei O. Kurbanov. Professor, St. Petersburg University; Visiting Scholar, GW Institute for Korean Studies
Abstract: North Korea is usually presented to the public as a dictatorial regime with a hungry population and world-threatening nuclear and missile programs. The perception of North Korea as a “corrupt regime” which “should be dismantled” causes misunderstanding of this country, which leads to ineffective foreign policy decision making along with being surprised when discovering the existence of technology and advanced modern science within the country.
The DPRK is a country with “5000 years of history”, beginning from the Ancient Joseon period (2333 B.C. – 108 B.C.), continuing through the formation of a socialist state in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula in 1945 – 1948. North Korean science and industry also has a long history and background. In the 21st century, North Korean citizens and authorities continue to collect knowledge of the world's modernization processes and strive to follow it.
This talk will give various examples of North Korean modernization and will demonstrate the new look of this country.
Speaker Bio: Sergei O. Kurbanov is a professor and the chair of the newly established Department of Korean Studies at St. Petersburg University. In 1997, he developed and opened the “Korean History Major” BA Program. His spheres of interest are wide, including the general history of Korea (with books published in 2002 and 2009), Korean Confucianism (book in 2007), and the everyday lives of North and South Koreans in 1987 – 2000s (books in 2013 and 2017). He also wrote and compiled a biography (published in 2016) of Kim Gu, the head of the Provisional government of the Republic of Korea in China, as well as a book on the theory of historical science (book in 2016). Currently, Prof. S.O. Kurbanov is undertaking a project to write a book on the history of North Korea between 2000 and 2018.