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KEI Podcasts

When the Party Writes About Itself, It Writes With Purpose: Dr. Meredith Shaw

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Show Notes

Despite all the attention around the upcoming second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, we in the United States still know very little about North Korea, its people, and their aspirations. There is, of course, no public opinion polling. Single-party rule means that there is no platform where the Korean Workers’ Party carries out an in-depth discussion on the direction of the country.

There is one exception: literature. As a result, state-sanctioned short stories and novels are the windows through which the outside world can begin to understand what North Korea’s leaders envision as an ideal society.

Of particular interest, what of North Korea’s promise to deliver a strong and prosperous country by 2012? How are they messaging the party’s accomplishments?  Has it arrived – if it has, how does North Korea explain the economic challenges that people face? if it has not yet arrived – why should the people continue to have confidence in the Party?

Our guest today, Dr. Meredith Shaw, a researcher of North Korean literature from the University of Tokyo, will address these questions and more.

You can find her presentation at KEI here:

You can also find her blog on North Korean literature here

February 22, 2019