The Northern Region of Korea

History, Identity, and Culture

Edited by Sun Joo Kim

  • Published: August 2015
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; History
  • Bibliographic information: 415 pp., 3 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Distributed for: Center for Korea Studies, University of Washington
  • Series: Center For Korea Studies Publications
  • Contents

The residents of the three northern provinces of Korea have long had cultural and linguistic characteristics that have marked them as distinct from their brethren in the central area near the capital and in the southern provinces. The making and legitimating of centralized Korean nation-states over the centuries, however, have marginalized the northern region and its distinct subjectivities.

Contributors to this book address the problem of amnesia regarding this distinct subjectivity of the northern region of Korea in contemporary, historical, and cultural discourses, which have largely been dominated by grand paradigms, such as modernization theory, the positivist perspective, and Marxism. Through the use of storytelling, linguistic analysis, and journal entries from turn-of-the-century missionaries and traveling Russians in addition to many varieties of unconventional primary sources, the authors creatively explore unfamiliar terrain while examining the culture, identity, and regional distinctiveness of the northern region and its people. They investigate how the northern part of the Korean peninsula developed and changed historically from the early Choson to the colonial period and come to a consensus regarding the importance of regionalism as a vital factor in historical transformation, especially in regard to Korea's tumultuous modern era.
Sun Joo Kim is a professor of Korean history at Harvard University. She is the author of Marginality and Subversion in Korea. The other contributors are Mark E. Caprio, Donald N. Clark, Bruce Fulton, Jang Yoo-seung, Jung Min, German Kim, Ross King, Kwon Naehyun, Yumi Moon, Paek Doo-Hyeon, and Kenneth R. Robinson.

"Sheds light on many aspects of Korean history and culture that have long been ignored. . . . opens doors to further scholarship not only on northern Korean but also on other regions . . . a path-breaking addition to the field of Korean studies."
-Sean C. Kim, The Journal of Asian Studies, May 2012

""The book is a very welcome addition to the literature about the past of the north of Korea... both as an introduction to the historical northern part of Korea as well as an outstanding example of how regional history can be researched and written."
-Felix Siegmund, New Asia Books, September 18 2013

"In our days of jargon-laden publications, the lucidity of the arguments made and the understandable language of all the texts in the volume is noteworthy. One can only congratulate the contributors and the editors for their remarkable success in creating a very informative and approachable book"
-Felix Siegmund, The Newsletter: International Institute for Asian Studies