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Leadership Changes at CKS

University of Washington main Quad; Seattle, WA

September 1, 2023

Clark W. Sorensen Retires

Clark W. Sorensen, professor, chair of the Korea Studies Program, and inaugural director of the Center for Korea Studies, has concluded his tenure with the University of Washington, fully retiring as of July 1, 2023.

Clark W. Sorensen, professor and chair of the Korea Studies Program, and inaugural director of the Center for Korea Studies, announced his retirement at the end of spring quarter, 2020, and has relinquished his part-time administrative and teaching responsibilities as of June 2023.

Clark SorensenProfessor Sorensen, an anthropologist, came to the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in 1989. In addition to his teaching and publications, Professor Sorensen became Korea Program Director in 1998, succeeding the late James B. Palais. After the retirement of Professor Palais, Professor Sorensen’s successful fundraising activities, with the help of the late Senator Paull Shin and Mr. Ick-whan Lee, endowed two positions in the Korea Studies Program, ensuring its continued existence into the future. Professor Sorensen was PI of the two grants from the Academy of Korean Studies totaling over $1 million over 10 years that allowed the establishment of the Center for Korea Studies and its activities from 2006 to 2016. Under Dr. Sorensen’s auspices the Center for Korea Studies was able to publish nine conference and other volumes. Dr. Sorensen also edited the Journal of Korea Studies from 2009 to 2016 bringing it from one to two annual issues, and edited the publication series, Korea Studies at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, ushering some fifteen monographs on Korea into print.

In retirement Professor Sorensen plans to devote more time to classical piano, and to continue his research and writing at a more leisurely pace than in the past.

Yong-Chool Ha as CKS Director

Dr. Yong-Chool Ha joined the University of Washington as a Visiting Professor in 2004, and was formally welcomed as a faculty member of the Jackson School in 2008. Prior to joining UW, Professor Ha was a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley in 2004, and a Professor of Political Science at Seoul National University beginning in 1986. He has received well over a dozen grants for various research projects, and chairs, directs, or is a member of government and university committees and commissions.

Yong-Chool Ha

Dr. Ha has edited or co-authored many books in Korean and English, including New Perspectives on International Studies in KoreaRussia’s Choice at the Crossroads, and Global Standards and Identity in Korean Society. He has also published countless articles for academic journals and conferences. His latest book, Late Industrialization, Tradition, and Social Change in South Koreawill be published by UW Press in February 2024.

Ha’s primary academic interests address comparative politics and society with a particular focus on late industrializing nations (Korea, Japan, Prussia, China and the Soviet Union), Soviet and Russian politics, Russian Far East Korean domestic and international politics, inter-Korean Relations and East Asian regional politics, and international theories in East Asia.

Dr. Ha teaches undergraduate and graduate-level international relations and political science courses.

To learn more about Professor Ha’s tenure has CKS’ Director, please read his “Letter from the Director” here.

Andrea Gevurtz Arai as Interim Chair of the Korea Program

Professor Andrea (Gevurtz) Arai joins CKS as our interim program chair for the 2023-24 academic year. Professor Arai will support the Korea Program by mentoring graduate students, teaching our Modern Korea Society course (undergraduate and graduate level), through collaborative research, and as a general liaison within the academic and local community.

Professor Arai’s relationship with CKS was firmly established during her work with Clark Sorensen in 2010-2016. The two pursued a unique collective fieldwork project in Korea and Japan, made possible by the Academy of Korean Studies. The fieldwork resulted in the first of its kind interdisciplinary and cross-national conference, graduate course, and the edited volume: Spaces of Possibility: In, Between and Beyond Korea and Japan (UW Press, 2016).

Arai has completed a follow-up East Asia edited volume, Spaces of Creative Resistance: Social Change Projects in East Asia. This volume, under review at Rutgers U Press (est. publication 2024) introduces the work of younger scholars in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and China, who are researching and directly involved in social action projects.

Arai is organizing a Korea-Japan interdisciplinary panel at the AAS (American Association of Asian Studies) Annual Meeting in Seattle (March 2024) on “Low Birth and Aging Society.”

With Prof Gabriella Lukacs (U Pittsburgh, Anthropology), Arai is putting together a larger cross regional symposium on “declining population and women in neoliberal East Asia.” Members of the symposium will reconvene at the University of Washington in Spring, 2024 (supported by the Korea and Japan programs, and JSIS’ East Asia Center) to share the results of the symposium with UW faculty, graduate students, undergrads, and the public.

To learn more about Professor Arai, please visit her profile page here.