Changing Course? A Critical Analysis of South Korea's Parliamentary Election Results

Gi-Wook Shin, Director, Shorenstein APARC; Director, Korean Studies Program; Professor of Sociology ,Stanford University
Daniel C. Sneider, Associate Sirector for research at Stanford's Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center , Stanford University

RSVP required by 5PM April 11

On April 11, South Koreans go to the polls to select all 299 members of their unicameral National Assembly. Politicians, journalists, and scholars are closely observing the election for what it may say about the direction of the country, one of Asia's most dynamic democracies. A coalition of progressive parties is hoping for a major win, which would greatly increase the left's influence after four years of conservative party domination and also boost its chances in the December 19 presidential election. Progressives are calling for increased social welfare spending at home and a new sunshine policy toward North Korea; meanwhile, conservatives are stressing fiscal responsibility and insisting that North Korea must move toward denuclearization before receiving aid from the South.

Daniel C. Sneider, associate director for research at Stanford's Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC), will lead a conversation with Professor Gi-Wook Shin to analyze the effect of regional, generational, and economic divides on the election outcome, and the implications for the presidential campaign and South Korea's future domestic and external policies, including relations with the United States.

Sneider currently directs the Center's project on Nationalism and Regionalism and the Divided Memories and Reconciliation project, a three-year comparative study of the formation of historical memory in East Asia. His own research is focused on current U.S. foreign and national security policy in Asia, and on the foreign policy of Japan and Korea. Sneider was named a National Asia Research Fellow by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the National Bureau of Asian Research in 2010. He is the co-editor, with Shin, of History Textbooks and the Wars in Asia: Divided Memories, from Routledge, 2011. In addition, he is the co-editor of Cross Currents: Regionalism and Nationalism in Northeast Asia, Shorenstein APARC, distributed by Brookings Institution Press, 2007; of First Drafts of Korea: The U.S. Media and Perceptions of the Last Cold War Frontier, 2009; as well as of Does South Asia Exist?: Prospects for Regional Integration, 2010. Prior to coming to Stanford, Sneider was a long-time foreign correspondent. His twice-weekly column for the San Jose Mercury News looking at international issues and national security from a West Coast perspective was syndicated nationally on the Knight Ridder Tribune wire service. Previously, Sneider served as national/foreign editor of the Mercury News. From 1990 to 1994, he was the Moscow bureau chief of the Christian Science Monitor, covering the end of Soviet Communism and the collapse of the Soviet Union. From 1985 to 1990, he was Tokyo correspondent for the Monitor, covering Japan and Korea. Prior to that he was a correspondent in India, covering South and Southeast Asia. He also wrote widely on defense issues, including as a contributor and correspondent for Defense News, the national defense weekly.

Shin is the director of Shorenstein APARC; the Tong Yang, Korea Foundation, and Korea Stanford Alumni Chair of Korean Studies; the founding director of the Korean Studies Program; a senior fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; and a professor of sociology, all at Stanford University. As a historical-comparative and political sociologist, Shin's research has concentrated on areas of social movements, nationalism, development, and international relations.

He is the author/editor of numerous books and articles. His books include Beyond North Korea: Future Challenges to South Korea's Security (2011); U.S.-DPRK Educational Exchanges: Assessment and Future Strategy (2011); History Textbooks and the Wars in Asia: Divided Memories (2011); South Korean Social Movements: From Democracy to Civil Society (2011); One Alliance, Two Lenses: U.S.-Korea Relations in a New Era (2010); First Drafts of Korea: The U.S. Media and Perceptions of the Last Cold War Frontier (2009); Cross Currents: Regionalism and Nationalism in Northeast Asia (2007); Rethinking Historical Injustice and Reconciliation in Northeast Asia (2006); Ethnic Nationalism in Korea: Genealogy, Politics, and Legacy (2006); North Korea: 2005 and Beyond (2006); Contentious Kwangju (2004); Colonial Modernity in Korea (1999); and Peasant Protest and Social Change in Colonial Korea (1996), for which he received an Honorable Mention from the American Sociological Association. Due to the wide popularity of his publications, many of them have been translated and distributed to Korean audiences. His articles have appeared in academic journals including the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, Nations and Nationalism, Comparative Studies in Society and History, International Sociology, Pacific Affairs, Asian Survey, and Asian Perspectives.

Monday, April 16, 2012 | 12:00 pm — 1:15 pm
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor