• University of Chicago
    University of Chicago
  • Anti-American
    Anti-American
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Bruce Cumings has established a reputation as “America’s leading leftist historian on Korean history.” As a student at Columbia university he became a member of the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars (CCAS), a since-discredited organization that believed “the Communist Party of China had not only solved the problems of China but that of humankind as well; and that Communist China should be regarded as a model not just for developing nations, but also the United States.”[1]

Cumings is an ardent supporter of North Korea and its ruling regime, and is equally critical of the US. In his opinion, “American attitudes towards Korea are racist. The Korean War, in turn, was a U.S. war of aggression that amounted to a holocaust for the Korean people.” Cumings is also of the opinion that it is the US, not North Korea, that must compromise on nuclear weapons negotiations.[2]

In his 2004 book North Korea: Another Country, Cumings compares the country to a utopia, and defended the regime’s gulags, arguing that they “aren’t as bad as they’re made out to be, because Kim Jong Il is thoughtful enough to lock up whole families at a time.”[3]

[1] Bruce Cumings. Discover The Networks. Retrieved from http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2308

[2] Lewis, A. (Dec. 30, 2003). The Historian Who Defends North Korea. History News Network. Retrieved from http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/2742

[3] Myers, B.R., (Sept. 2004). Mother of All Mothers. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2004/09/mother-of-all-mothers/303403/

Associated Organizations:

American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Ford Foundation; National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH); The MacArthur Foundation; Social Science Research Council

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Departmental Contact

Emilio Kouri, Chair of the History Department

Contact email

kouri@uchicago.edu

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