The Korea Institute is pleased to announce the Soon Young Kim Postdoctoral Fellow in Korean Studies for academic year 2017-18: Dr. Peter Kwon.
Peter Banseok Kwon earned his Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages (focus: Modern and Contemporary Korean History) at Harvard University in 2016. Peter’s dissertation, “The Anatomy of Chaju Kukpang: Military-Civilian Convergence in the Development of the South Korean Defense Industry under Park Chung Hee, 1968-1979,” examines South Korea’s chaju kukpang (‘self-reliant national defense’) policy for independent military modernization, from the late-1960s to the 1970s. Drawing on newly released archival material from the US and South Korea, his dissertation highlights internal and synergistic strategies and forces that contributed to South Korea’s weapons production and economic industrialization (HCI) in this period. For his research in Korea, Peter received support from the FLAS Fellowship from the US Department of Education, the Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from the Academy of Korean Studies, and grants from the Harvard Korea Institute. Peter was an Associate Researcher at the Institute of Korean Studies at Yonsei University, from 2012 to 2013, a teaching fellow at Harvard in 2011, and a recipient of the 2017 AKS Junior Researcher Fellowship. He also graduated from the Regional Studies-East Asia (RSEA) program (A.M.) at Harvard, and has worked as the Events Coordinator for the Korea Institute.
Peter’s research and teaching interests relate to the historic role of the military and military-civilian relations in shaping postcolonial Korean political, industrial, socio-economic and cultural transformations over the past seven decades (1945-present). Peter is currently preparing his dissertation chapters for publication, to include the following themes: US-ROK relations amid Park Chung Hee’s weapons programs in the 1970s; state mobilization of civilian-business (i.e., chaebŏl) contributions to Park’s chaju kukpang campaign; popular social protests against state policies on industrial laborers in defense factories in the 1970s; and historical comparisons between Japanese and South Korean military-industrial policies in the postwar era.