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Where Asia Meets Russia: Borderlands, Minorities, and Overturning the Colonization Trope (with Alyssa Park)

How does one write a history about a place and people that were incessantly talked about in officialdom as part of multiple, conflicting colonization and nationalist projects? This talk examines...

How does one write a history about a place and people that were incessantly talked about in officialdom as part of multiple, conflicting colonization and nationalist projects? This talk examines approaches to borderland history in the Tumen valley, part of which included the territory of the Russian Maritime Province, and its population of Koreans.  Drawing from her book Sovereignty Experiments (Cornell University Press), Professor Park discusses the migration of Koreans to the Tumen valley and the attempts by officials of Chosŏn Korea, Qing China, and tsarist Russia to categorize and claim these migrants.  The talk presents an alternative view of borderland history in which the Russian Far East becomes part of broader East Asian history and overturns conventional narratives of far eastern colonization and minoritization of Koreans.

This event will be hosted in person and virtually on Zoom. Register for the Zoom meeting here. Non-NYU affiliates must RSVP for in-person campus access. 

Alyssa Park is a historian of modern Korea, with allied interests in borderlands history, transnational migration and space, and empires in East Asia, including Russia.  She is the author of Sovereignty Experiments: Korean Migrants and the Building of Borders in Northeast Asia, 1860-1945 (Cornell University Press, July 2019), which explores how questions of sovereignty—claims over territorial borders and subjects—became a central concern to multiple states as they confronted the unprecedented mobility of Koreans.  Based on documents originating in Seoul, Vladivostok, St. Petersburg, and Manchuria, the book examines the history of the Korean community across China and Russia, illuminating the process by which this border region and people were claimed and imagined as parts of distinct nations and empires. Dr. Park’s research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center, Council on East Asian Studies at Yale, ACLS / Mellon, International Research and Exchanges Board, Korea Foundation, and Fulbright-Hays.  She earned a PhD in history from Columbia University.

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