What do we talk about when we talk about East Asia? Breaking news and newspaper headlines, or blogs and tweets, transmit sensational stories of a turbulent region full of storm and stress. But the same stories appear and reappear in these scripts, with surprising uniformity. We are worried about China’s emergence as an economic giant and military power. Much more mercurial, however, and therefore more frightening, is that riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma known as North Korea. And what has happened to Japan, that once mighty economic engine now reduced to a source of bleak news about stagnation and stagflation? Then there is South Korea, manufacturer of such technologically advanced products as smartphones, and lately a generator of transnational fads ranging from snail cream to K-pop. This lecture is a compressed but wide-ranging introduction to and interpretation of the political, economic, and cultural dynamics of contemporary Northeast Asia.
John Lie is C.K. Cho Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. For the past three decades, he has been at the forefront of research on social theory, political economy, social identity, Asian America, and East Asia. Prof. Lie has published many books and articles on the political-economic and cultural transformations in East Asia. In his most recent book, The Dream of East Asia: The Rise of China, Nationalism, Popular Memory, and Regional Dynamics in Northeast Asia (Association for Asian Studies, 2018), Prof. Lie analyzes the standard narratives that have come to dominate American and European ideas about East Asia and discusses how to move beyond these and arrive at a more historically informed and culturally nuanced understanding of the region. This authoritative book is the foundation for the CEAPS seminar presentation.
Prof. Lie was born in South Korea, grew up in Japan and in Hawaii, and attended Harvard University where he received A.B. magna cum laude in Social Studies and Ph.D. in Sociology. Prior to joining Berkeley, Prof. Lie was Head of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for five years, and directed the Center for Japanese Studies and the Korean Studies Program at the University of Michigan.
This event is organized by the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies (CEAPS) and co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology.