Guest Lectures 2016-17

Professor Kang Won-Taek, Seoul National University, Department of Political Science and International Relations

Thu, March 30, 15–17 o'clock: Pub 126:

30 years of a new democracy: South Korea’s democratic consolidation

Fri, March 31, 15–17 o'clock: Pub 126:

Generation, protests, and Park Chung Hee: Recent political crises in South Korea

Poster for Prof. Kang's lectures (pdf)

Prof. Hannes Mosler, Department of Korean Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Mon, April 3, 2017, 16–18 o’clock, Pub4:

The ban of political parties  in South Korea and Germany

Tue, April 4, 2017, 14–16 o’clock, Pub4:

Reloading democracy? The institution of presidential impeachment in South Korea

Students with interest in Korea and elsewhere in East Asia are welcome to join Hannes Mosler in an informal get-together to discuss their research and study topics and interests on Monday, April 3 at 10 am. We will meet at CEAS.

(Inquiries to antti.leppanen[a]

Hannes B. Mosler is assistant professor at the Graduate School of East Asian Studies (GEAS) and the Institute of Korean Studies (IKS), Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. He received his PhD from the Department of Political Science at Seoul National University, South Korea. His recent publications include the co-edited volume The Quality of Democracy in Korea. Three Decades after Democratization (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming) and the article “Decoding the ‘Free Democratic Basic Order’ for the Unification of Korea” (Korea Journal, forthcoming).

Abstract of the lecture The ban of political parties  in South Korea and Germany:

The South Korean constitutional court decided in 2014 to ban the minor leftist United Progressive Party (UPP) and to deprive its five lawmakers of their seats in the national parliament. In the petition by the right-conservative government to disband the UPP, the party was accused of supporting North Korea and to have planned to overthrow the South Korean government, which would violate the free democratic basic order and infringe upon the National Security Act. In his dissenting opinion, one of the nine judges challenged the majority’s decision’s main arguments. Also within heavily polarized politics, academia and society the motion as well as the decision was met with strong opposition. The talk will discuss the circumstances leading up to the initiation of the petition as well as the constitutional judges’ interpretation of the article on political parties to show that the verdict leaves ample room for fundamental critique - both from a democratic theory perspective and from a legal theory perspective. Comparing this case to the reasoning of the decision by the German constitutional court on the minor rightist National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) in 2017, the talk argues that the South Korean constitutional court handled the constitutional norm on party ban in a remarkably imprudent fashion.

Abstract of the lecture Reloading democracy? The institution of presidential impeachment in South Korea:

Presidential impeachment is a mechanism used to protect democracy from system-threatening malpractice by an incumbent, which is a phenomenon that is occurring increasingly often in young presidential democracies around the world. The talk uses the recent impeachment and removal of former President Park Geun-hye as an opportunity to address the institution of presidential impeachment in general, and how it has been working in Korea in particular. After briefly introducing the idea and the institution of presidential impeachment, the talk will look at the specific design of the presidential impeachment procedure in Korea. In a third step the talk compares differences and similarities of the two historical impeachment efforts against Roh Moo-hyun who was impeached but reinstated in 2004, and against Park Geun-hye who was impeached and deposed in 2016/17. It will be argued that the impeachment motion against Roh in 2004 was obviously illegitimate, and represents a misuse of the impeachment power, while the impeachment of Park in 2016/17 was an appropriate usage of the proceeding because it reflected the original idea – that is the protection of democracy against its enemies. In the conclusion, the presentation discusses the meaning and possible implications of the recent removal of the Korea’s president.

Sergei Kurbanov, Professor, Director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies of Korea, St. Petersburg State University

Daily life in modern Pyongyang:  a city transformed

Monday, March 20, 2017, 16‒18 o'clock​

Place: Publicum, Pub 5

Professor Sergei Kurbanov, the director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies of Korea at St. Petersburg State University, presents his observations and analysis of the recent transformations in the lives of North Koreans in Pyongyang, based on his visit to North Korea in September-October 2016.
2016 Mangyeongdae SmartPhone User CROP.jpgPhotograph: Sergei Kurbanov

Daniele Brombal (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)

Policy making for sustainability in China. The role and constraints of institutionalized public participation

Venue: PUB SH209

Time: Dec 16, at 11am

Despite retaining a restrictive political environment, in recent years the Chinese Party-State has introduced and strengthened various forms of institutionalized public participation. This trend has been particularly notable in policy areas neglected during the reforms of the 1980s and 1990s, more likely to spur dissatisfaction among the Chinese populace.

In parallel with substantial efforts towards a more sustainable path of development, the Chinese leadership has shown a growing awareness over the need to encourage public engagement. Yet, the capacity of China's institutionalized forms of participation to influence the outcome of policy processes and to promote citizens' empowerment remains widely debated.

This lecture aims at providing an overview over the current state of affairs in China's public participation, by focusing on policy areas related to social and environmental sustainability. In the first part of the lecture, different forms of public participation are introduced, providing concrete examples of their utilization. In the second part, a multi-criteria tool developed by researchers at Venice Ca' Foscari University to evaluate public participation in environmental planning is introduced, and its possible applications are discussed.

Daniele Brombal is Research Fellow at the Department of Asian and North African Studies and the Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics at Ca' Foscari University of Venice. His research focuses on China's policy making processes and public participation in the fields of sustainability, environmental protection, and public health. Between 2007 and 2010, he was Research Consultant and Programme Officer at the Directorate General for Development Cooperation - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy (Embassy of Italy in Beijing). He was 2009 Fellow of the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA). Between 2012 and 2015, he was visiting fellow of the EU FP-7 Marie Curie IRSES project 'Global Partners in Contaminated Land Management' (GLOCOM) at the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES) and Beijing Normal University (BNU). Between July, 2012 and March, 2014 he was Project Manager at the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC). From 2013 to 2015, he was Member of the Board of the international NGO Asia Onlus. He is currently Research Associate at T.wai (Torino World Affairs Institute), a think-tank devoted to policy-oriented research in the field of global politics. Daniele holds a PhD in Languages, Cultures and Societies (University of Venice, 2012). His works are published on Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Land Use Policy, Journal of Cleaner Production, Health Research Policy and Systems, International Journal for Equity in Health.

Intensive course: South China Sea Dispute (2cr)

by Docent Markku Salomaa and Dr Michel Beniard

Oct 28 (Fri) and Nov 3 (Thu) and Nov 10 (Thu), 2016

CEAS Lecture Hall (Arwidssoninkatu 3A)

Oct 28 (Fri), 2016, 9am‒3pm (9‒15 o'clock)
Markku Salomaa: South China Sea crisis and the unbalanced political security in East and South-East Asia
  1. Military power in South East Asia (45 min)
  2. South China Sea confrontation (45 min)
  3. Artificial Chinese islands at issue (45 min)
  4. Lack of unity is ASEAN's problem (45 min)
  5. AEC in creation; geoeconomy without geopolitics (45 min)

Nov 3 (Thu), 46pm (1618)
Michel Beniard: The Washington Conference, a model for the settlements of disputes in the Pacific and the Far East

Nov 10 (Thu) 46pm (1618)
Michel Beniard: How the Washington Conference model could be applied to a certain extent to the current situation

 Stephen Epstein (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)​

Professor Stephen Epstein visits CEAS on September 1‒2 to present his and prof Timothy Tangherlini's documentary on Korean indie rock, Us & Them: Korean Indie Rock in a K-Pop World (Thu, Sept 1, 2016 at 2pm) and give a lecture titled Sympathetically, Gravely ‒ North Korean Spies in Recent South Korean Cinema (Fri, Sept 2, 2016 at 2pm).

(At 10 am on Thursday Sept 1, students with interest in Korea and elsewhere in East Asia are welcome to join Stephen Epstein in an informal get-together at CEAS. Inquiries to antti.leppanen[a]

September 1, 2016 (Thu), 2pm, CEAS Lecture Hall

Documentary film showing with prof Epstein's introduction: Us & Them: Korean Indie Rock in a K-Pop World (co-produced by Stephen Epstein & Timothy Tangherlini) (39")

The spread of South Korean popular music, or K-pop, has been a striking global phenomenon. In 2012 PSY’s viral sensation “Gangnam Style” became the most viewed video on YouTube ever, generating over a billion hits and scores of imitations. But Korean music is not only idol groups and viral videos. There is also a vibrant indie and punk scene that has been active for the past two decades. A lot of the energy driving the scene has come in opposition to mainstream Korean music. Yet, just as K-pop is becoming more well-known internationally, bands from the Korean underground are now touring overseas and have become more professional in their own pursuit of global connections. 

September 2, 2016 (Fri), 2pm, CEAS Lecture Hall

Guest lecture: "Sympathetically, Gravely ‒ North Korean Spies in Recent South Korean Cinema"

In the last 15 years, South Korea has experienced significant changes in popular discourse about the North. A decade of the Sunshine Policy, under which previously unimaginable depictions of North Korea and North Koreans emerged, has yielded to successive conservative governments and a noteworthy downturn in relations; prospects for reunification remain dim. A striking recent trend in South Korean cinema has been the spate of films that feature North Korean spies as protagonists, such as Uihyeongje (Secret Reunion; 2010), Gancheop (The Spies; 2012), Bereullin (The Berlin File; 2013), Dongchangsaeng (Commitment; 2013) and Eunmilhage, Widaehage (Secretly, Greatly; 2013). In this presentation I will make two main arguments: first, although the national imaginary continues to wish for the possibility of identification with Northerners as individuals, in part as a result of the thawing made possible by the Sunshine Policy, consciousness of the North as threat has made a clear return. The fact that movies involving Northern spies can become action comedies suggest, on the one hand, a more nuanced view of the North-South relationship that draws on the greater knowledge made possible by increased contact and, on the other, a more ambivalent assessment of the potential for rapprochement that engages with the free play of fantasy allowed by film. Secondly, I will argue that each of these films makes manifest a deep-rooted schizophrenia in South Korean attitudes towards North Korea through tropes of plotting and characterization that involve a decomposition of those from the DPRK into "Good North Koreans" and "Bad North Koreans."

Associate Professor Stephen Epstein is the Director of the Asian Studies Programme at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. He has published widely on contemporary Korean society, literature and popular culture and translated numerous pieces of Korean and Indonesian fiction. He has co-produced two documentaries on the Korean indie music scene, Us & Them: Korean Indie Rock in a K-pop world (2014) and Our Nation: A Korean Punk Rock Community (2002). He co-edited Complicated Currents: Media Flows, Soft Power and East Asia (Monash University Publications, 2010) and recently completed The Korean Wave: A Sourcebook (Academy of Korean Studies Press, 2016) with Yun-mi Hwang.

 20170330-31 SpecialLectures_Kang.pdf20170330-31 SpecialLectures_Kang.pdfOn this page you will find guest lectures held at the Centre for East Asian Studies during the academic year 2015-2016.​