North and South Korean Relations:
Film Screening: Friday, March 30, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Open to secondary and post-secondary educators, this free workshop will provide an introduction to current relations between North and South Korea, both political and social. The presenters will place the Korean documentary film Repatriation in contemporary and historical context. There will be opportunity for discussion.
Background: For over two generations the Korean peninsula has been divided into two states: the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea.) Although this was originally intended as an expedient and temporary political division at the end of War World II to maintain geopolitical stability between the United States and Soviet Union, the emergence of Cold War politics sealed the fate of the Koreas. Fifty-seven years after the start of the Korean War, a peace treaty still has not been signed. Since 1998, however, South Korea has maintained a tolerant “Sunshine Policy” toward North Korea, softening tensions.
Jacques Fuqua will discuss how reunification of two halves of a divided nation will be achieved when each has developed under radically opposing policies. He will also provide a post-WWII historical context for South and North Korea. The film Repatriation focuses on the displacement and ultimate repatriation of North Korean prisoners held in South Korea during the Cold War. Through their individual stories are revealed several important themes that underscore the broader challenges of reunification of the Korean peninsula. First, although a homogeneous people, the artificial political division imposed on the peninsula in the aftermath of WWII has created two very different nations— politically, culturally and socially. Second, what is considered an acceptable form of governance differs between the North and South Korean governments and citizens—is it to be a socialist or democratic model? Another consideration is the mechanics of reunification: will it be achieved through assimilation, confederation or some other form? Finally, reunification remains a distant goal that will be achieved through an evolutionary process, not a revolutionary one.
Jacques Fuqua, a retired US Army officer (February 2000), presently serves as Director of International Engagement and Protocol for the University of Illinois where he is responsible for creating a coherent public face for the vast array of international activities and resources on the Urbana-Champaign campus and for creating new program synergies between and among campus programs. He was an active duty US Army officer for over 20 years, serving as a Foreign Area Officer (Northeast Asia) for most of that time. He was involved in various international security discussions and negotiations impacting Japan and Korea. He has taught Japanese history courses at the University of Maryland’s Asia Division ( in both Seoul, Korea, and Tokyo, Japan), and East Asian security issues at Indiana University, and the University of Illinois. He has published various newspaper and journal articles on the US-Japan security relationship, Okinawa, and North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program, and is currently working on a book entitled Nuclear Endgame-The Need for Engagement with North Korea.
Nan Kim-Paik will discuss the socio-historical background and cultural setting of Repatriation. She will address the meanings attached to family and kinship in Korea and discuss how national division resulted in various kinds of social stigma related to the political implications of family separation following the Korean War. Other discussion topics will include the social implications of recent inter- Korean reconciliation particularly in South Korea and the complex dilemmas pertaining to human rights and humanitarianism that have resulted from Korea's division. She will discuss examples of teaching materials and offer suggestions for further resources that would support lessons about divided Korea in modern world history as well as in its contemporary contexts.
Nan Kim-Paik is an adjunct assistant professor in the History Department at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee where she teaches courses in East Asian history. She is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley and is completing her dissertation, "Liminal Subjects, Liminal Nation: Reuniting Separated Families and Mediating National Reconciliation in Divided Korea." She also co-translated and edited the English subtitles for the 1997 documentary, Habitual Sadness: Korean Comfort Women Today (Bo-Im Productions, Seoul). She received her AB degree, magna cum laude, in English literature from Princeton University and her MA degree in Anthropology from UC-Berkeley.
Page Last Updated February 16, 2007