Regional Reconciliation: The Korean Peninsula and North-est Asia (Deadline 15 Feb 2010)


The year 2010 marks a hundred years since the formal Japanese occupation of Korea began, sixty years since the start of the Korean War, and ten years since the historic summit meeting in Pyongyang. Memories – and interpretations – of these events have remained important for Koreans, both north and south of the border, and have continued to have salience in contemporary relationships on the peninsula as well as with neighbouring countries.

The aim of this conference, therefore, is both to examine the extent to which history and memory play a role in contemporary societies and international relations surrounding the Korean peninsula as well as discuss the methods and mechanisms – successes and failures – in bringing about reconciliation between past antagonists. However, it will not be just a review of the past, but also a projection of where the two
Koreas are going in the future. Based on the trends of the past, it is hoped to obtain a better understanding of not just what has been happening, but, more importantly, what might happen in the future and how peace on the peninsula and in more broadly in North-east Asia might be achieved.

The one-day conference will be divided into 4 main panels.

Panel one, tentatively titled “Peace and Reconciliation: An Overview” will be a comparative panel, drawing on historians, political scientists, cultural studies scholars and philosophers to discuss how history, memory and public policy-making interact. It is hoped that a cross-disciplinary dialogue and fertilization of ideas will be a particular feature of this panel. Where appropriate, examples from outside North-east Asia, from Europe or elsewhere, will be discussed.

A second panel will focus on key contemporary relationships surrounding the Korean peninsula, such as relations with Japan and China. This panel will focus predominantly on the relationship between Korea and its neighbours such as the ongoing contestation over cultural and historical memories, etc., between China, Korea, and Japan.

Panel three, “Relations between the North (Korea) and South (Korea)” will examine the inter-Korean relationship. This will include discussions on socio-political as well as economic, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between the North and the South, and discussion on the long-term aspect of peace building and reconciliation between the divided nation.

The fourth panel will examine the political and security challenges to be overcome in promoting peace and reconciliation on and around the peninsula. The panel, tentatively titled “Regional Security and Community Building: Alternative Approaches” will focus on vital issues such as the issue of the denuclearisation of the Korea peninsula, the balance of power in East Asia, and regional dynamics and the role (or lack of role) of the United States.


The organisers welcome paper proposals which deal with these aspects not only from political science perspectives but also from other disciplinary backgrounds (including literature and films).

All papers will be eligible for publication in the conference proceedings and/or selected to be published in the CAPS Working Paper series. The organisers will also examine the possibility of approaching an international academic journal for a special edition.

Since the organisers have limited funds, contributors who might need assistance to come to present their papers in Hong Kong will be considered on an individual basis and on the merit of the paper proposals.


Please send the following information via email to no later than 15 February 2010.

PAPER ABSTRACT (up to 300 words):

We will inform authors of accepted abstracts by 1 March 2010. Further details of the conference will be forthcoming.













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