Gwangju Uprising: The Rebellion for Democracy in South Korea

The essential account of the South Korean 1980 pro-democracy rebellion On 18 May 1980, student activists gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to protest the martial law government of General Chun Doo-hwan. The security forces responded with unmitigated violence. Hundreds of students, activists and citizens were arrested, tortured and murdered. This fresh translation […]

Justifying Violence on Korea’s Cold War Frontlines: The Life and Representations of Kim Tu-han

From the publisher’s website: The son of a nationalist martyr, Kim Tu-han (1918-1972) rose to prominence as a mobster in 1930s Seoul. As conditions shifted, he deployed his gang first as a construction corps supporting the Japanese war effort, then as a progressive force, and, most successfully, as an anti-communist vigilante group. After narrowly escaping […]

20 Years 20 Days: Reflections from Prison

Exact publication date not known. Visit the publisher’s website for up-to-date info Reflections from Prison is a collection of  letters and essays from renowned Korean thinker Shin Young-Bok written during his 20 years as a political prisoner under the military government. ​The letters range from post cards to tiny characters squeezed onto his Army Prison daily […]

The Prisoner

From the publisher’s website: A sweeping account of imprisonment—in time, in language, and in a divided country—from Korea’s most acclaimed novelist In 1993, writer and democracy activist Hwang Sok-yong was sentenced to five years in the Seoul Detention Center. Hwang’s imprisonment forced him to consider the many prisons to which he was subject—of thought, of […]

Toward Democracy: South Korean Culture and Society, 1945–1980

From the publisher’s website: This volume brings together translated essays by fourteen established and emerging South Korean scholars. Using approaches from sociology, political science, history, and literary and cultural studies, the authors offer innovative and nuanced analyses of a wide range of topics—from refugee displacement to street politics, from anti-communism and democracy to militarization—and discuss […]

Witnessing Gwangju: A Memoir

From the publisher’s website: Witnessing Gwangju describes the life-altering experience of young Peace Corps volunteer, Paul Courtright.  Courtright was in the countryside of South Korea in 1980 to help leprosy patients. On the way back home from his medical checkup, Courtright was caught in the middle of what became known by some as the Gwangju Massacre, […]

The Koreas: The Birth of Two Nations Divided

From the publisher’s website: What history, pop culture, and diaspora can teach us about North and South Korea today. Korea is one of the last divided countries in the world. Twins born of the Cold War, one is vilified as an isolated, impoverished, time-warped state with an abysmal human rights record and a reclusive leader […]

Peace Corps Volunteers and the Making of Korean Studies in the United States

From the publisher’s website: From 1966 through 1981 the Peace Corps sent more than two thousand volunteers to South Korea, to teach English and provide healthcare. A small yet significant number of them returned to the United States and entered academia, forming the core of a second wave of Korean studies scholars. How did their […]

Korean Skilled Workers: Toward a Labor Aristocracy

From the publisher’s website: South Korea’s triumphant development has catapulted the country’s economy to the eleventh largest in the world. Large family-owned conglomerates, or chaebŏls, such as Samsung, Hyundai, and LG, have become globally preeminent manufacturing brands. Yet Korea’s highly disciplined, technologically competent skilled workers who built these brands have become known only for their […]

After the Korean War: An Intimate History

Following his prizewinning studies of the Vietnam War, renowned anthropologist Heonik Kwon presents this ground-breaking study of the Korean War’s enduring legacies seen through the realm of intimate human experience. Kwon boldly reclaims kinship as a vital category in historical and political enquiry and probes the grey zone between the modern and the traditional (and […]

Samsung Rising: Inside the secretive company conquering Tech

From the publisher’s website: Based on years of reporting on Samsung for the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and Time from his base in South Korea, and his countless sources inside and outside the company, Geoffrey Cain offers the first deep look behind the curtains of the biggest company nobody knows. How has this happened? Forty years ago, Samsung was […]

Korean Memories and Psycho-Historical Fragmentation

From the publisher’s website: This pioneering book is the first English volume on Korean memories. In it, Mikyoung Kim introduces ‘psycho-historical fragmentation’, a concept that explains South Korea’s mnemonic rupture as a result of living under intense temporal, psychological and physical pressure. As Korean society has undergone transformation at unusual speed and intensity, so has […]

Revisiting Minjung: New Perspectives on the Cultural History of 1980s South Korea

From the publisher’s website: An epoch-marking alliance of laborers, students, dissident intellectuals, and ordinary citizens was at the heart of South Korea’s transformation from a dictatorship into a vibrant democracy during the 1980s. Collectively known as the minjung (“the people”), these agents of Korean democratization historically carved out an expanded role for civil society in the country’s […]

Top-Down Democracy in South Korea

From the publisher’s website: While popular movements in South Korea rightly grab the headlines for forcing political change and holding leaders to account, those movements are only part of the story of the construction and practice of democracy. In Top-Down Democracy in South Korea, Erik Mobrand documents another part – the elite-led design and management of […]

The Park Chung Hee Era: Economic Development and Modernization of the Republic of Korea

From the publisher’s website: This volume presents a collection of authoritative summaries and analyses of the most significant economic policies of the Park Chung Hee years (1961–1979). It is the product of a major project by Korean academics and officials to critically review and analyze policies aimed at economic development and modernization of Korea. Most […]

Cultures of Yusin: South Korea in the 1970s

From the publisher’s website: A broad range of scholars explores the many avenues of cultural production during the Yusin period, casting new light on how it challenged and conformed to the ambitions of the state power. Cultures of Yusin examines the turbulent and yet deeply formative period of time South Korea’s Fourth Republic (1972-79), beginning with […]