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Asia Pacific Studies


Jeffrey Dippmann (Director)
Language & Literature 337-C
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7555
Phone: 963-1830/1190



Please join us on Tuesday February 10th at 4 PM for a free public lecture with Dr Don Baker, Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Baker will be speaking on "Christianity, Capitalism and the Emergence of Democracy in South Korea."

"In the early 1980s, both North Korea and South Korea were under dictatorial rule. In the second decade of the twenty-first century North Korea still suffers under a totalitarian government. South Korea, on the other hand, has blossomed into a vibrant democracy. Why have the two halves of what was for a millennia the same country, with the same political culture, gone in such different directions? I will argue that we should credit the rise of both Christianity and capitalism for the emergence of democracy in South Korea."

DON BAKER first became interested in Korea while serving there as a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1970s. He received his Ph.D. in Korean history from the University of Washington in 1983. Since 1987 he has taught Korean history and religion in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on the transformation of Korean beliefs and values over the last two centuries, with a particular interest in changes in Confucianism, the rise of Christianity to prominence, and the emergence of new religions. Because he was fortunate enough to witness the transformation of South Korea from poverty and dictatorship to prosperity and democracy, he is also interested in recent political, economic, and social change and has published on the Kwangju uprising of May 1980. His most recent book is Korean Spirituality (2008).

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