INAF-374 The Korea Conundrum
Spring for 2017-2018
This course investigates the history and politics of the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea or North Korea. How does this country, whose contradictions are so self-evident, manage to survive, if not succeed? How does its leadership, which has violated almost every element of its social contract with the people, manage to maintain its iron grip? What has enabled this small and isolated regime to defy the international community in its decades-long bid to pursue nuclear weapons? And what of its future? Is a family dynastic succession again possible? If not, what will be the future of the Korean peninsula? The course divides roughly into four sections. The first is an understanding of history of colonialism and the cold war that informs the creation of the DPRK. The second section investigates domestic issues including, the cult of leadership of the Kim family, the economy, human rights, and deterrence. The third section looks at the international sphere including relations with regional players Japan, China, and Russia. The fourth section looks at the tortured relations between the DPRK and United States in the context of the nuclear question and the Six Party talks. The course closes with a look at relations with South Korea and the policy priorities and potential pitfalls in Korea's path to unification as well as the implications of a united Korea on the balance of power in post-cold war East Asia. This course is open to undergraduate upperclassmen/women and to graduate students. Graduate students will be expected to write a longer paper for the class. No previous background on Korea is expected.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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