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Book Talk: North Korea’s Mundane Revolution with Andre Schmid [4/18]

March 20, 2024

Join the Center for Korea Studies on Thursday, April 18 from 4:30 to 6pm in the Allen Auditorium as we welcome Professor Andre Schmid to discuss his latest monograph, North Korea’s Mundane Revolution: Socialist Living and the Rise of Kim Il Sung, 1953-1965.

When the crucial years after the Korean War are remembered today, histories about North Korea largely recount a grand epic of revolution centering on the ascent of Kim Il Sung to absolute power. Often overshadowed in this storyline, however, are the myriad ways the Korean population participated in party-state projects to rebuild their lives and country after the devastation of the war. North Korea’s Mundane Revolution traces the origins of the country’s long-term durability in the questions that Korean women and men raised about the modern individual, housing, family life, and consumption. Using a wide range of overlooked sources, Andre Schmid examines the formation of a gendered socialist lifestyle in North Korea by focusing on the localized processes of socioeconomic and cultural change. This style of “New Living” replaced radical definitions of gender and class revolution with the politics of individual self-reform and cultural elevation, leading to a depoliticization of the country’s political culture in the very years that Kim Il Sung rose to power.

Please click here to register. Registered attendees will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Dr. Schmid’s book at the talk.

Andre Schmid is an Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Professor Schmid’s research and teaching focus on 19th and 20th century Korea and East Asia, as seen in the broader context of global, comparative history. He is interested in historiography and the uses of public memory, the relation between cultural practices and political economy, gendered social history and popular social movements. His first book, Korea Between Empires, 1895-1919 (Columbia University Press, 2002), received the John Whitney Hall Award of the Association of Asian Studies. He has published in various journals including the Journal of Asian Studies, American Historical Review, Yoksa Munje, South Atlantic Quarterly, International Journal of Korean Studies, and SAI among others.