Sino-North Korean Relations

Kevin Gray speaks on Sino-North Korean relationsThe East-West Center Research Program will sponsor a lunch-time brown-bag discussion by POSCO Visiting Fellow
Kevin Gray Tuesday, August 23, 2016. Gray’s topic is “Sino-North Korean Relations and China’s Northeastern Development Strategy.” The program will take place from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. in Burns Hall room 3012.

Sino-North Korean relations may seem puzzling in that while China seeks to increase its influence in global economic and political governance, it nevertheless continues to pursue a strategy of engagement with North Korea despite increasingly stringent UN-mandated sanctions.

Analyses of China’s policy often neglect the ongoing multi-faceted transformation of the Chinese state since the late 1970s along with the profound rescaling of political authority in China, the diversification of public and private actors involved in relations with North Korea, and the multiple and often contradictory goals that those actors pursue. Also neglected is the question how the rescaling and decentralization of political and economic governance has exacerbated China’s uneven development and has raised issues of potential social unrest in China’s northeast.

China’s regional development projects, which have emphasized North Korea’s role as “geographical fix” to the relatively isolated provinces of the northeast have become an increasingly important vector in Sino-North Korean relations.

Gray will argue that in comparison to China’s ideological commitment to the country or its perceived utility in China’s increasingly tense standoff with the United States and its allies in Northeast Asia, more attention needs to be paid to regional development efforts in shaping the substance of China’s relations with North Korea. At the same time, he contends, relations between the two countries have become increasingly amorphous and ridden with contradictions and are, as a result, irreducible to any single geopolitical logic.

About Kevin Gray

Kevin Gray is a reader in international relations at the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, in the United Kingdom. He researches North Korean development, Chinese-North Korean relations, and East Asian political economy more broadly. He is the author of Korean Workers and Neoliberal Globalisation (Routledge, 2008), Labour and Development in East Asia: Social Forces and Passive Revolution (Routledge, 2015); People Power in an Era of Global Crisis: Rebellion, Resistance, and Liberation, with Barry K. Gills (Routledge, 2012); and Rising Powers and the Future of Global Governance, with Craig N. Murphy (Routledge, 2013).

USC Korean Heritage Library Research Grants

research grants at USC libraryThe University of Southern California Korean Heritage Library is offering research grants for Korean studies researchers, librarians, and educators wishing to use its collections. The grants are supported by the Overseas Korean Studies and Heritage Foundation.

Scholars and librarians whose research can benefit from the resources at the USC Korean Heritage Library are eligible to apply. The program is open to scholars from Korea and other countries outside the United States and to those at domestic U.S. institutions with few Korean library resources.

Grants will be awarded to up to three scholars. The awards are up to $2,000 for international scholars and up to $1,000 for domestic scholars. Proposals must be submitted by August 31, 2016. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of USC librarians. The selected recipients will be notified September 30, 2016. Awarded grants must be used by September 30, 2017.

Recipients are required to submit a brief report at the end of on-site research; acknowledge the grant in resulting publications; provide gift copies of resulting publications where possible; and submit receipts for reimbursement up to the amount of the award.

The application form and additional information can be found at The completed form must be accompanied by a brief statement (approximately 250 words) describing the research project and its purpose and the need for on-site research at USC, a proposed visit schedule, an estimated budget, and a curriculum vitae.

Inquiries regarding the grants may be directed to Joy Kim (, curator of the Korean Heritage Library, or Kenneth Klein (, head of the East Asian Library.

More information about the Korean Heritage Library, located in the USC Doheny Memorial Library in Los Angeles, can be found at

Political Economy of South Korea and the Northeast Asia Region

Jonathan Westover speaks about political economy of South KoreaThe East-West Center Research Program will present a discussion of aspects of the political economy of South Korea and the Northeast Asian region on Wednesday, June 22, 2016, at 12 noon in Burns Hall room 3012.

The speaker will be EWC POSCO Visiting Fellow Jonathan Westover. His topic is “The Evolving International Political Economy of South Korea and the Northeast Asian Region: A Focus on Shifting Workplace Orientation, 1981-2014.”

According to Westover, cross-disciplinary research on worker attitudes and workplace conditions has linked worker experiences to many individual, organizational, and social outcomes. Such research has failed, however, to shed light on why cross-national differences in worker satisfaction and engagement and their determinants persist. Some research suggests that differences are due to cultural factors, but this approach has failed to show why countries with similar cultural orientations still experience significant differences. Thus there remain questions about the causes of the differences and the long-term effects of sustainable economic development and labor prosperity. Moreover, few studies have looked at changes in work quality cross-nationally from the perspective of workers while accounting for country-contextual characteristics.

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University of Michigan Postdoctoral Fellowship in Korean Studies

Nam Center postdoctoral fellowshipThe Nam Center for Korean Studies at the University of Michigan is now accepting applications for a postdoctoral fellowship in Korean studies for the 2016-2017 academic year. The fellowship is open to scholars in all fields whose research relates to Korea. Preference will be given to applicants whose research/teaching interests concern contemporary Korea. The fellow will be expected to participate in Center events and related activities at the University of Michigan, as well as teach a course during 2017.

The fellowship will cover up to a twelve-month period between September 1, 2016, and August 31, 2017, and will carry a stipend of $45,000 plus benefits as well as $2,000 in research funds. The postdoctoral fellow will be provided a shared office and access to libraries and resources at the university.

The fellow will be required to remain in residence from September 2016 until the end of June 2017; teach one undergraduate course; give a lecture in the Nam Center Colloquium series; assist with Nam Center academic programming; and mentor Nam Center undergraduate fellows.

To be eligible, applicants must have received the Ph.D. degree within five years of the postdoctoral appointment year (2011 or later). The successful applicant must have had his or her Ph.D. degree conferred by August 31, 2016.

Applications must be submitted on line here by July 10, 2016, and include the following (each document should be a separate file; only PDF and MS Word formats will be accepted): Letter of application, curriculum vitae, research statement outlining current research project and experience, writing sample (e.g., dissertation chapter, conference paper, journal article), and contact information for two letters of recommendation (which will be solicited directly through the on-line system).

Further inquiries should be directed to Do-Hee Morsman (, Center administrator, Nam Center for Korean Studies, School of Social Work Building, 1080 South University Ave., Suite 4663, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106. Telephone (734) 764-1825; fax (734) 764-2252.

UCLA Social Science Search

UCLA social science searchThe UCLA Division of Social Sciences invites applications from those with strong research and teaching interests in Korea for a tenure-track position at the assistant professor level in any social science field.

Scholars with demonstrated distinction and strong future potential in research and teaching are encouraged to apply. The successful candidate will be a dynamic program builder with a commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and research. She or he will hold a 100-percent appointment in the department of his or her discipline, but will be expected to participate in the activities of the Center for Korean Studies. The appointment is to begin July 1, 2017.

For information about UCLA’s various social science departments and programs, see

To apply, send a letter of application, curriculum vita, statement of research and teaching interests, two or three selected publications or dissertation chapters, and the names of three referees to:

Korean Social Science Search Committee
Center for Korean Studies
11371 Bunche Hall, Box 951487
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1487

Applicants should have a Ph.D in hand or expect to have the Ph.D. by June 2017. Review of applications will begin October 15, 2016, and will continue until the position is filled.

Call for Papers: Korean Families in Economic and Demographic Transitions

Nam Center conference on Korean familiesThe Nam Center for Korean Studies at the University of Michigan invites submission of proposals for a conference titled “Korean Families in Economic and Demographic Transitions: Parenting, Children’s Education, and Social Mobility,” to be held November 11-12, 2016, in Ann Arbor.

The conference, the sixth in the Perspectives on Contemporary Korea series, aims to bring scholars together to discuss how recent economic and demographic changes have affected parents and children in Korea and, at the same time, how changing family structure and arrangements have also contributed to recent economic and social inequality. In particular, the conference welcomes scholars with both quantitative and qualitative approaches to Korean families.

The conference organizers are Hyunjoon Park ( of the Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, and Nojin Kwak ( of the Nam Center and Department of Communication Studies, University of Michigan.

Proposals should consist of the following documents gathered into a single PDF file and submitted electronically:

  1. A cover page including the author’s (and coauthor’s) name, affiliation, title, mailing address, and e-mail address. A presenter of the paper, if accepted, should be indicated.
  2. A short abstract of no more than 200 words.
  3. An extended abstract of two or three pages (single-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font, one-inch margins) substantial enough to present research questions clearly, explain their significance, outline data and methods to be used, and briefly review literature. If needed, tables and figures can be included and will not be counted toward the page limit.

The proposal should be submitted by means of the on-line form available here. The deadline is Friday, August 19, 2016. For accepted abstracts only, complete papers will be due to the organizers by Friday, October 21, 2016.

Papers presented at the conference will be considered for inclusion in a peer-reviewed, edited volume to be published by the University of Michigan Press as part of the Perspectives on Contemporary Korea series. Selected participants will be asked to submit final papers by January 1, 2017.

Travel grants to defray the costs of attendance may be available to accepted participants, one per paper, by application.

Additional information, including the conference rationale, is available here. Questions, but not submissions, may be directed to