Dr. Chong-Sik Lee, University of Pennsylvania emeritus professor of political science, will speak at the Center for Korean Studies on September 6, 2018, at 4:00 p.m.
In his talk, Lee will take note of two landmark statements by former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. In March 1982, Kim declared: “Marx and Engels have shown the working class their historical mission, lighted their way for liberation, and launched [the] international Communist movement.”
Ten years later in February 1992, however, Kim denounced Marxism for having gotten the basics wrong. The movement of history is not based on economic development as Marx (through dialectical materialism) had posited but on the will of the masses of people. He blamed the collapse of the Soviet Union and other Communist countries on concentrating on economic construction, neglecting the effort for the transformation of people.
Kim Jong Il’s latter pronouncement, Lee says, was of historical importance because he stripped his régime of Marxism, which had provided its ideological anchor. He could refer to juche, but it was no substitute for Marxism, which had mesmerized millions of people in search of a way to a brighter future.
In his lecture, Lee will pose such questions as: if Marxism is obsolete, as Kim declared, what is North Korea’s ideology today? What is juche? How can current leader Kim Jong Un justify the North Korean dictatorship?
A Long and Productive Career
Chong-Sik Lee was born in Korea in 1931 and reared in Korea and China, moving to the United States in 1954. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science at the University of California, Los Angles, and received his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1961. After brief stints teaching at the University of Colorado and Dartmouth College, Lee joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. He is also currently a distinguished professor at Kyunghee University.
In 1974, Lee’s monumental study Communism in Korea, co-authored with Robert A. Scalapino, won the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award of the American Political Science Association as the best book on government, politics, and international affairs published in the United States in 1973.
His other major works in English are The Politics of Korean Nationalism (1963), Korean Workers’ Party: A Short History (1978), Revolutionary Struggle in Manchuria: Chinese Communism and Soviet Interest, 1922–1945 (1983), Japan and Korea: The Political Dimension (1985), Syngman Rhee: The Prison Years of a Young Radical (2000), and Park Chung Hee: From Poverty to Power (2012).
In Korean, his publications include 김규식의 생애 [The Life of Kim Kyu-sik] (1974), 구한말의 개혁ㆍ독립투사 서재필 [Seo Jae-pil: The Fighter for Reform and Independence] (2003), 이승만의 구한말 개혁운동: 급진주의에서 기독교 입국론으로 [The Reform Movement of Syngman Rhee] (2005), 대한민국의 기원 [The Origins of the Republic of Korea] (2006), 여운형: 사상과 시대를 초월한 융화주의자 [Lyuh Woon Hyung: The Korean Harmonist] (2008), and 21세기에 다시보는 해방후사 [History after the Liberation] (2012).
The Yang Lecture Series
Dr. Sung Chul Yang and his wife, Dr. Daisy Lee Yang, pledged a gift of $1 million to the Center for Korean Studies in 2015 to endow a program to be known as the Drs. Sung Chul Yang and Daisy Lee Yang Lecture Series. The series was designed to make possible the regular appearance on the Mānoa campus of eminent scholars of Korean and Asian affairs.
Sung Chul Yang explained at the time of the pledge, “We established this endowment to contribute to the building of common ground that our world needs in order to resolve conflict and create a more peaceful world.”
Yang earned his B.A. at Seoul National University, his M.A. at the University of Hawai‘i on an East-West Center grant, and his Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky before going on to a long and notable career. He served as a distinguished professor at Korea University; ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States; senior adviser and chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Kim Dae-jung Peace Foundation; and a member of the 15th Republic of Korea National Assembly.
Daisy Jung Jin Lee was born in North Korea. Her family moved to Hawai‘i and she was graduated from McKinley High School. She earned her B.A. from the University of Hawai‘i, M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky, and MAT from the University of Louisville. Her career in academia included professorships at Korea University, Hankook University of Foreign Studies, and Kyunggi Open University in Seoul. She is the author of Lady Bora from Diamond Mountain, a Korean historical fantasy novel.
This lecture, as are all programs at the Center for Korean Studies, is free and open to all. For further information, including information regarding access for the handicapped, telephone the Center office at (808) 956‑7041.