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MiKSSI 2023 | The Global Korean War

Theme: The Global Korean War
Dates: June 25-July 1, 2023
Location: Ann Arbor Campus

Program Overview

The Nam Center for Korean Studies at the University of Michigan is announcing the inaugural Perspectives on Contemporary Korea Summer Institute, to be held in Ann Arbor from June 25-July 1, 2023. Graduate students at any level whose research concerns Korea are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to students pursuing a doctoral degree. In this one-week, residential intensive program, students will participate in collaborative learning, collective thinking, and interdisciplinary agenda-setting around a key critical issue central to Korean Studies. Two leading scholars will be joining students in residence and directing in-person seminars for participants.

In the summer of 2023, the theme of the institute will be the Global Korean War. A formative event of the twentieth century, the Korean War was not a single war but a combination of several kinds of related conflicts: a civil war between mutually negating postcolonial political forces, a global conflict waged between major power blocs with competing visions of modernity, and, increasingly after 1950, a war fought between the American “superpower” and a fledgling revolutionary state of the People’s Republic of China. The Summer Institute will be devoted to exploring key issues in established and emerging scholarship on the Korean War. Particular attention will be paid to contextualizing classical perspectives in relation to successive waves of revisions enabled by the opening of previously unavailable archives on the one hand, and by the recognition of subjectivities and experiences hitherto unseen, unacknowledged, or marginalized, on the other.

This summer, the two scholars who will be joining the Summer Institute as faculty instructors are:

Heonik Kwon is a Senior Research Fellow in Social Science and Distinguished Research Professor of Social Anthropology at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, uniquely on the Academy’s three separate subject fields of Anthropology, Asian Studies and Modern History. Author of prizewinning books on the Vietnam War social history and on Asia's postcolonial Cold War experience (The Other Cold War, 2010), Kwon's other publications include North Korea: Beyond Charismatic Politics (2012), After the Korean War: An Intimate History (Cambridge, 2020), and Spirit Power: Politics and Religion in Korea's American Century (2022).

Steven Lee is Associate Professor of History and former chair of the international relations program at the University of British Columbia. His publications include Outposts of Empire: Korea, Vietnam and the Origins of the Cold War, 1949-1954 (1996), The Korean War (2001), and Transformations in Twentieth Century Korea, co-edited with Yunshik Chang (2006). He has coedited a volume of The Journal of American-East Asian Relations on the theme of the two Koreas in the 1950s (2017), and has written articles on the history of Korean refugees, Canada-Korean Relations, and the role of the UN in Korea. He is currently writing a global history of the twentieth century for Blackwell-Wiley.


All applications should be submitted using this form.

Interested students should prepare and submit the following documents, in addition to one confidential letter of recommendation from a faculty member from the institution where the student is currently enrolled, preferably the applicant’s advisor:

  1. A Letter of Intent of no more than two pages describing current scholarly interests  and how participation in the Summer Institute would contribute to the applicant’s academic plans. The statement should include information about courses taken in relevant fields if any.
  2. A current curriculum vitae
  3. A sample of recent writing

Letters of recommendation should be submitted by the advisor in pdf format to with “SUMMER INSTITUTE - Letter of Recommendation” in the subject line.

The final deadline for all submissions is April 9, 2023 at 11:59 pm.

Admissions decisions will be announced within the month of April.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Tuition is waived for all participants in the institute. Lodging will be provided to participants, as well as a modest stipend for meals and incidental expenses, with the generous support of the Academy of Korean Studies.

Students are encouraged to seek funding from their home institutions for transportation to Ann Arbor.