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Books I read for class

5 Books | by Tea

The boring yet educational books I’ve read thus far in graduate school

The Justice Cascade

The Justice Cascade

Books

Acclaimed scholar Kathryn Sikkink examines the important and controversial new trend of holding political leaders criminally accountable for human rights violations.

Ethnic Nationalism in Korea

Ethnic Nationalism in Korea

Books

This book explains the roots, politics, and legacy of Korean ethnic nationalism, which is based on the sense of a shared bloodline and ancestry. Belief in a racially distinct and ethnically homogeneous nation is widely shared on both sides of the Korean peninsula, although some scholars believe it is a myth with little historical basis. Finding both positions problematic and treating identity formation as a social and historical construct that has crucial behavioral consequences, this book examines how such a blood-based notion has become a dominant source of Korean identity, overriding other forms of identity in the modern era. It also looks at how the politics of national identity have played out in various contexts in Korea: semicolonialism, civil war, authoritarian politics, democratization, territorial division, and globalization.

Confucianism and Democratization in East Asia

Confucianism and Democratization in East Asia

Books

"This book examines how Confucianism affects the development of democratic citizenship in East Asia. To what extent do East Asians remain attached to the particular way of life and system of government that Confucius and Mencius advocated to bring about a community of grand harmony? How does such attachment to Confucian civic norms affect their engagement in civic affairs? How does attachment to Confucian paternalistic meritocracy affect their commitment to democracy? The book addresses these question inthe context of public opinion surveys conducted in East Asia and other regions"--Provided by publisher.

The Comfort Women

The Comfort Women

Books

In an era marked by atrocities perpetrated on a grand scale, the tragedy of the so-called comfort women—mostly Korean women forced into prostitution by the Japanese army—endures as one of the darkest events of World War II. These women have usually been labeled victims of a war crime, a simplistic view that makes it easy to pin blame on the policies of imperial Japan and therefore easier to consign the episode to a war-torn past. In this revelatory study, C. Sarah Soh provocatively disputes this master narrative. Soh reveals that the forces of Japanese colonialism and Korean patriarchy together shaped the fate of Korean comfort women—a double bind made strikingly apparent in the cases of women cast into sexual slavery after fleeing abuse at home. Other victims were press-ganged into prostitution, sometimes with the help of Korean procurers. Drawing on historical research and interviews with survivors, Soh tells the stories of these women from girlhood through their subjugation and beyond to their efforts to overcome the traumas of their past. Finally, Soh examines the array of factors— from South Korean nationalist politics to the aims of the international women’s human rights movement—that have contributed to the incomplete view of the tragedy that still dominates today.

The Making of Minjung

The Making of Minjung

Books

In this sweeping intellectual and cultural history of the minjung ("common people's") movement in South Korea, Namhee Lee shows how the movement arose in the 1970s and 1980s in response to the repressive authoritarian regime and grew out of a widespread sense that the nation's "failed history" left Korean identity profoundly incomplete. The Making of Minjung captures the movement in its many dimensions, presenting its intellectual trajectory as a discourse and its impact as a political movement, as well as raising questions about how intellectuals represented the minjung. Lee's portrait is based on a wide range of sources: underground pamphlets, diaries, court documents, contemporary newspaper reports, and interviews with participants. Thousands of students and intellectuals left universities during this period and became factory workers, forging an intellectual-labor alliance perhaps unique in world history. At the same time, minjung cultural activists reinvigorated traditional folk theater, created a new "minjung literature," and influenced religious practices and academic disciplines. In its transformative scope, the minjung phenomenon is comparable to better-known contemporaneous movements in South Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Understanding the minjung movement is essential to understanding South Korea's recent resistance to U.S. influence. Along with its well-known economic transformation, South Korea has also had a profound social and political transformation. The minjung movement drove this transformation, and this book tells its story comprehensively and critically.

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