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Letter from the Director

August 17, 2023

Dear CKS Community,

As I embark in the role of director of the Center for Korean Studies, I would like to share the following with the faculty in the Korea Program, students at University of Washington, the Korean community, and beyond.

As a Korea specialist, I regard myself as an outlier case. Originally, I started my academic career as a Soviet specialist with a focus on the Soviet Communist Party. During this work, in a strange twist, I began to think about Korean society. Behind apparent differences between the two countries, I was able to identify fundamental similarities in terms of lateness in industrialization and modernization. Thus, my interest in Korean studies started with the question of how lateness affects modes of economic development and social change.

My recent book project, Late Industrialization, Tradition, and Social Change in South Korea, analyzes the distinct social and institutional consequences of Korea’s late industrialization. The book challenges universalism in social change by focusing on the role of tradition in late industrialization. It contends that each case of industrialization brings about distinct social and institutional consequences. In this work, a conceptual framework is developed to approach different cases of late industrialization utilizing the Korean case to analyze the experiences of other nations.

As with my forthcoming monograph, it is my hope and intention to promote comparative research in Korean studies at the University of Washington to establish a distinct identity for Korean studies. To achieve this goal, I will do my best in developing and supporting comparative research among Korean studies faculty members and beyond. Through our collective efforts, I hope to promote the comparative perspective in Korean studies not only here at UW, but to enhance interests in Korea in other area studies and disciplines around of the world.

The development of a distinct identity of Korean studies at UW will not be feasible without sufficient financial support. In this regard, I am determined to raise funds to support faculty research projects and graduate student scholarships. In collaboration with our faculty, I will do my best in raising funds to a level of strong self-sufficiency. I will take initiatives on my own but welcome innovative ideas for fundraising from my fellow Korea studies faculty and beyond.

Closely related to fundraising issues are interactions with the Korean community in and around Washington State. The Korean community in Washington State has been instrumental in saving and developing Korean studies at the University of Washington for the past twenty years. I will further strengthen the Center’s relationship with the Korean community not only for fundraising but also by establishing events which will benefit the Korean community.

The Center for Korean Studies at the Jackson School has built a long tradition of close collaboration with other programs at the Jackson School, and I intend to expand and deepen this relationship in the years to come. Increased collaboration will provide important opportunities to deepen the comparative perspective within Korean studies. I hope to expand collaboration beyond the school level, engaging with Korean studies programs at other institutions in the United States, Asia, and Europe.

Finally, I intend to initiate and expand cooperation with institutions and scholars in Korea. The Center for Korean Studies at UW will serve as an important conduit to introduce new research findings in Korea to the outside world, thus facilitating academic cooperation and exchange with Korea.

These challenges cannot be accomplished without close and open discussions among Korean studies faculty, active engagements with other programs, students, and the community. I will do my best to facilitate communications, cooperation, and collaboration to pursue the goals laid out above.

Yong-Chool Ha

Director, Center for Korea Studies

Selected Publications

Ha, Yong-Chool. Late Industrialization, Tradition, and Social Change in South Korea. University of Washington Press, 2024.

Iwashita, A., Ha, Y.-C., & Boyle, E. (Eds.). Geo-Politics in Northeast Asia (1st ed.). Routledge, 2022.

Ha, Yong-Chool, ed. International Impact of Colonial Rule in Korea, 1910-1945. University of Washington Press, 2019.

Lee, Hong Yung, Yong-Chool Ha, and Clark W. Sorensen, eds. Colonial Rule and Social Change in Korea, 1910-1945. University of Washington Press, 2013.

Ha, Yong-Chool, ed. New Perspectives on International Studies in Korea (in Korean). Seoul National University Press, 2008.

Coauthor and principal writer. Russia’s Choice at the Crossroads (in Korean). Seoul National University Press, 2006.

Coauthor. Global Standards and Identity in Korean Society (in Korean). Seoul National University, 2006.

Ha, Yong-Chool. Late industrialization and the dynamics of the strong state in South Korea: Debureaucratization and Hollowing out (in Korean). Seoul National University Press, 2006.

(ed.), South Korea’s Northern Policy: Origins, Development and Consequences (in Korean). Seoul National University Press, 2003.

(ed.), Journey to Siberia (in Korean) (Seoul: Dong-A-Ilbo-Sa, 2001).

(ed.), Changes in the Image of Korean Family (in Korean). Seoul National University Press, 2001.

Stanislaw Gomulka, Yong-Chool Ha, Cae-One Kim, eds. Economic Reforms in the Socialist World. Macmillan Press, 1989.