Personalizing North Korean Lives


Thursday, April 20, 2023, 4:30pm to 6:00pm


Thomas Chan-Soo Kang Room (S050), CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Kim Koo Forum

Personalizing North Korean Lives

Katharine Moon
Professor Emerita of Political Science, Wellesley College; Kim Koo Visiting Professor, Harvard University 

Katharine (Kathy) H.S. Moon is Professor Emerita at Wellesley College, where she taught political science for thirty years. She specialized in research on women and gender in International Relations, U.S.-Korea relations, and social movements in East Asia. She was also the inaugural chair in Korean Studies at The Brookings Institution, where she worked as a senior fellow in the Center for East Asia Policy. She is currently Kim Koo Visiting Professor at Harvard University.

Chaired by John S. Park, Director of the Korea Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Do North Koreans fall in love? Do they have a favorite food despite the ongoing food shortage and the Great Famine of the 1990s? How do they experience friendship, grieve for their deceased, deal with inter-generational divides? Prof. Moon conducted in-depth interviews with North Koreans living in London and Toronto to understand their humanity first and foremost—universal experiences like family relationships, friendships, childhood and school life, love, marriage, death, etc. She sought to learn about the unspoken and seemingly apolitical details of North Koreans’ lives rather than reproduce what is so familiar to North Korean interview subjects: the exclusively explicit political interrogation. In the process of narrating their personal views and memories, the diasporic North Koreans revealed their keen understanding of the political infrastructure that informed their social institutions and communal life.

To attend this online event, please register here.

Generously supported by the Kim Koo Foundation