Andrew Yeo, an associate professor of politics and a fellow at the Institute of Policy Research & Catholic Studies, was named to a $1.2 million research task force organized by the Office of the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to study the internal and regional relationships of North Korea.
The research project, titled Exploring the Black Box of North Korea in a Globalized Context, includes nine professors from around the world. Each member focuses on a different aspect of North Korea. The overall goal of the project is to produce a comprehensive body of research in English that illuminates the multifaceted layers of the North Korean state and its regional relationships, according to the CSIS website.
Yeo’s part of the project is titled Civil Society, Markets, and Social Change in North Korea and focuses on the internal politics of the North Korean state.
“My research specifically looks at whether there is the emergence of a civil society in North Korea,” said Yeo “Whether the rise of markets allow ordinary North Koreans to organize and communicate with one another apart from the state watching everything.”
Due to the closed-off nature of North Korea, most of Yeo’s research will be done through the accounts of North Korean defectors.
“There’s about 30,000 North Koreans who have defected, mostly to South Korea, but also to other parts of the world,” noted Yeo. “There’s about 150 in the United States for instance. There’s enough of a record on these defectors to get their input on what it was like living in North Korea.”
Through his participation in this research project and others, Yeo is hoping to expand knowledge and awareness about Asia across the Catholic University community. He currently directs Catholic University’s Asian Studies program. Yeo said he hopes to expand its course offerings and student programming.
To that end, Catholic University is hosting the John Oh Memorial Lecture on campus Thursday, Oct. 13, with Katherine Moon, professor of political science and Edith Stix Wasserman Chair of Asian Studies at Wellesley College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution to speak on immigration and democracy in Asia. The University, through the Institute of Policy Research & Catholic Studies and with support from the Korea Foundation, will also host an international conference on Thursday, Oct. 27, on The Evolution of North Korean Human Rights Discourse and Activism.