Modern Times in North Korea: Scenes From the Founding Years
Friday, November 8, 2013 - 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Columbia University Morningside Campus International Affairs Building, Room 918
North Korea is often portrayed in mainstream media as a backward place without a history worth knowing. But during its founding years (1945-1950), North Korea experienced a radical social revolution when everyday life became the single most important arena for experiencing the revolution in progress. Historical accounts across the political spectrum characterize the five year post-liberation period as a period of competing ideologies. But what distinguished these competing visions for Korea's decolonization were not lofty political goals, since everyone advocated independence and democracy, but the minute details of how everyday life should be organized. In that sense, everyday life became the primary site of revolutionary struggle in North Korea, and serves as the most useful theoretical category for understanding the North Korean Revolution in particular, and social revolutions in general, as expressions of a heroic modernist impulse.