The Korean War After 60 Years: History and Memory in Korea and the United States

Bruce Cumings , Professor and Chairman of the History Department,University of Chicago

RSVP required by 5PM May 25 at

This lecture will examine the origins of the Cold War in East Asia, how early the Cold War came to Korea, how the Korean War transformed the containment doctrine, how it solidified the continuing divisions in East Asia, and how it transformed defense policy in the United States, leading to a far-flung structure of seemingly permanent military bases in South Korea, Japan, Germany, and many more countries that lasts down to 2010. Professor Cumings will also examine problems of history and memory regarding what most Americans call "the forgotten war."

Bruce Cumings teaches international history, modern Korean history and East Asian political economy at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1987 and where he is the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor and the chairman of the History Department. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1975. He has taught at Swarthmore College (1975-77), the University of Washington (1977-86), and Northwestern University (1994-97). He is the author of the two-volume study, The Origins of the Korean War (Princeton University Press, 1981, 1990), War and Television (Visal-Routledge, 1992), Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History (W. W. Norton, 1997; updated ed. 2005), Parallax Visions: Making Sense of American-East Asian Relations (Duke University Press, 1999; paperback 2002), North Korea: Another Country (New Press, 2003), co-author of Inventing the Axis of Evil (New Press, 2004), and is the editor of the modern volume of the Cambridge History of Korea (forthcoming). He is a frequent contributor to The London Review of Books, The Nation, Current History, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and Le Monde Diplomatique. The first volume of his Origins won the John King Fairbank book award of the American Historical Association for the best book on East Asia in the previous two years, and the second volume won the Quincy Wright book award of the International Studies Association. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999, and is the recipient of fellowships from the Ford Foundation-funded Foreign Area Fellows program, NEH, the MacArthur Foundation, the Center for Advanced Study at Stanford, and the Abe Fellowship Program of the Social Science Research Council. He was also the principal historical consultant for the Thames Television/PBS 6-hour documentary, Korea: The Unknown War. He recently published Dominion From Sea to Sea: Pacific Ascendancy and American Power, which was ranked as one of the top 25 books of 2009 by the Atlantic Monthly. Random House will publish his short book, The Korean War, on the war's 60th anniversary in 2010. He is also contracted to publish a new, single-volume synoptic edition of The Origins of the Korean War.

Friday, May 28, 2010 | 12:00 pm — 1:15 pm
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor