Organized Panel Session
Typically translated as “self-reliance,” North Korea’s philosophy of Juche has recently been a subject of increased debate within the field of North Korean studies. Rather than view Juche as the guiding light of the North Korean regime or as a smokescreen for a far-right nationalistic ideology, this multidisciplinary panel investigates North Korea’s promotion of Juche within domestic and international contexts. Often stereotyped as hermitic, this panel sees the North Korean regime as highly conscious of ideological trends and shifts in the outside world. Benjamin R. Young’s paper on the dissemination of Juche to the Global South during the Cold War era argues that Pyongyang used the philosophy as a vehicle to bolster Kim Il Sung’s personality cult domestically and bolster popular support for the regime. James F. Person’s paper examines Kim Il-Sung’s 1955 use of the expression “Juche” within the longue durée of North Korean discourse on sovereignty vis-à-vis the major communist powers in Moscow and Beijing. Douglas Gabriel investigates state-produced artistic images of Juche at the crucial turning point of the late Cold War period when the communist world was in flux and globalization became the foundation of the international economic order. Steven Denney’s paper, co-authored with Christopher Green, speaks to the relationship between pro forma ideology and everyday experiences across different generations, as revealed by surveys and interviews of former residents of North Korea. Professor Suzy Kim, an expert of North Korean history and society, serves as the discussant for this panel.