Dr. Charles Armstrong, Columbia University
May 3, 2015 (Sun) 3:00 – 5:00 p.m
UNM Continuing Education Conference Center

Until the close of the twentieth century, Korea had never in its modern history been a major economic or political force in the East Asian region, much less the world at large. Yet despite the continued division of the Korean peninsula and the uncertain security environment in Northeast Asia, South Korea on its own has become an important country in the global economy, ranking thirteenth in the world in overall gross domestic product. Its ships, cars, and electronics have become name-brands throughout the world; its popular culture has swept over the East Asian region and beyond; and, only a few decades removed from deep dependence on foreign aid, South Korea has established its own aid and development program for assisting Third World countries.  In less than half a century South Korea has been transformed from a war-ravaged dictatorship to a high-tech democracy and an important global force in technology, economy, culture and security. This transformation challenges many assumptions about how we have understood the phenomenon of globalization, especially the idea that globalization is a strictly Westernizing or Americanizing phenomenon. In some respects the world, Asia in particular, is becoming significantly “Koreanized.”

Dr. Charles Armstrong is the Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences in the Department of History at Columbia University. A historian of contemporary North and South Korea, Professor Armstrong’s published books include Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950 – 1992 (Cornell, 2013); The Koreas (second edition, 2014); Korean Society: Civil Society, Democracy, and the State (second edition, 2006); Korea at the Center: Dynamics of Regionalism in Northeast Asia (2006); and The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 (2003). He is a frequent commentator in the US and foreign mass media on contemporary Korean, East Asian and Asian American affairs and has appeared on CNN, NPR, BBC, CCTV and others. Professor Armstrong received a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Yale University, an M.A. in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago.

Supported by New Mexico Humanities Council and Sandia National Labs