York hosts non-credit summer school on North Korea

North Korea FEATURED image by Tom Klassen

A two-week, non-credit summer school at York University focused the culture of one of the least understood nations in the world when the North Korea Summer School: Inside North Korean Literature, Art and Film ran from May 16 to 27.

Taught by two renowned international experts on North Korea – Professor Immanuel Kim from George Washington University in the United States, and Mr. Nicholas Boone from Koryo Studio – the summer school was an intensive in-person learning environment for the 26 participants and various guests. It offered an opportunity to explore the secretive country’s literature, arts and propaganda.

North Korea summer school class photo
North Korea summer school class photo

Graduate students travelled from universities in Chile, England, the United States and South Korea to attend, and be joined by artists, researchers and others who came from as far as Japan and Romania. York University graduate and undergraduate students were also in attendance.

In addition to on-campus learning, such as guest lectures from Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) Professors Hyun-Ok Park (Sociology) and Therese Hyun (Humanities), participants in the summer school attended events in Toronto, including the 2022 Korean Film Festival and a book launch.

Freya Zhou, a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, summed up her two weeks in Toronto as “one of the most fantastic academic experiences I have ever had. I learned a tremendous amount from Professor Kim and Mr. Bonner, met North Korean defectors for the first time, and networked with other scholars. The knowledge I gained from this two-week program will be tremendously constructive for my future research.”

The North Korea Summer School was coordinated by Professor Thomas Klassen (LA&PS, School of Public Policy and Administration) and was supported by funding from the by Korean Office for Research and Education (KORE) at York University, which is funded by the Academy of Korean Studies, and through funds from LA&PS.