Korean War Scholar Will Discuss American Relations In East Asia
Posted: March 30, 2001
**This Convocation has been cancelled and will be rescheduled in the fall.**
The Denison Provost Alumni Scholar Series for 2000/2001 will end with a discussion of "American Relations with East Asia in a New Century" by one of the nation's most highly respected East Asian scholars. Bruce Cumings, a 1965 graduate of Denison and the Norman and Edna Freehling Professor of International History and East Asian Political Economy at the University of Chicago, will speak at 8 p.m. on Thursday (April 12) in Slayter Auditorium. The convocation is free and open to the public.
Best known for his two-volume work,The Origins of the Korean War (Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimesin 1981 andThe Roaring of the Cataractin 1990) which was published by Princeton University Press, Cumings is the author or editor of eight other volumes on Korea and East Asia. They include:Korea: The Unknown War, an illustrated history with Jon Halliday;War and Television: Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War; Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History; and Parallax Visions: Making Sense of American-East Asian Relations at the End of the Century.
Cumings' works frequently arouse controversy, says Jim Pletcher, associate professor of political science at Denison. Pletcher points out that a New York Times reviewer, analyzing Cumings' impact on scholarship and politics, wrote that he has been "excoriated and harassed by the ROK (Republic of Korea) government, by South Korean rightists, misread by most centrist Koreans, and appropriated and idealized by leftist infantilists within the 1980s student movement." His books have appeared in Korea in several unauthorized translations. While on campus, Cumings will visit with classes in East Asian studies, international studies and political science.
Winner of a Denison Alumni Citation Award in 1996, Cumings was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999 and as a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford in 2000. He was a finalist in the 1997 Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize competition forKorea's Place in the Sunand in the 1993 George Orwell Book Award competition for his "distinguished contributions to honesty and clarity in public language" forWar and Television. He was also the co-winner of the biennial Harry Truman Book Award in 1982 given by the Truman Presidential Library for the best book on the Truman period (Origins) and was the principal historical consultant to Thames Television/PBS for the six-hour documentary entitled "Korea: The Unknown War."
Cumings earned his doctorate at Columbia University in 1975 after having served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Seoul, Korea in 1967/68. His teaching career has taken him to Swarthmore College, the University of Washington and to Northwestern University from 1994 to 97 as the founder and first director of the Center for International and Comparative Studies where he was responsible for developing a new interdisciplinary program in comparative studies. He taught at the University of Chicago from 1987 to 1994, rejoining that faculty in 1997 after his time at Northwestern.
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