Environmental Issues

Armilliara and Sunshine: From Kim Jong-il’s Fungal Diplomacy to the Mushroom Institute of Pyongyang

By | November 22, 2013

Robert Winstanley-Chesters follows the trail of North Korean charismatic politics deep into the developmental realm, from fungus’ place under the Sunshine policy to the recently rebuilt Central Mushroom Institute.

“Unification Aesthetics:” A Review of Lee Si-Woo’s Life on the Edge of the DMZ

By | November 06, 2013

Can the desolation of the North-South border region be understood as a “huge canvas for a meditation on life itself?” Adam Cathcart explores the relationship between the human condition and the peninsula-as-environment in this review of Lee Si-Woo’s Life on the Edge of the DMZ.

Premonitions of a Disaster: Seeds of Ecological Collapse and Germination of Plans for Intensive Industrial Agriculture

By | October 25, 2013

In an exciting new essay, the author of the vibrant and informative DPRK Food Policy Blog, Yong Kwon examines issues of food security and seeks out the root causes of North Korea’s failure to feed itself down the years.

Transnationalizing Northeast Asia, One Tree at a Time: Interview with Dr. Park DongKyun

By | September 24, 2013

How are South Korea-lead civil society networks addressing “global problems” that manifest or originate from Northeast Asia? As part of a summer research effort, Christopher Green sat down with Dr. Park DongKyun, a forestry expert, to find out. The interview is a product of their conversation.

Charismatic Environs: From Local Landscape to National Landschaft

By | September 05, 2013

As this sweeping essay illustrates, Kim Jong-un’s obsession with turf and landscape, far from being gratuitous, is in fact part of the North Korean leadership’s art of imbuing the very land of the DPRK with charismatic qualities.

Political and Environmental Organization in North Korea: From Charismatic Politics to Landscapes of Charisma

By | August 22, 2013

Looking at how we might interpret landscapes in an environment of charismatic politics in North Korea, Robert Winstanley-Chesters finds in the work on on the relationship between the politics and the environment a new and useful theory that goes beyond politics, persons, and personhoods. Borne of the politics of charisma is a “landscapes of charisma.”

“Patriotism Begins from Love of Courtyard:” Sepho and the Scaling of the Environmental

By | August 06, 2013

No one covers North Korea’s expressions of the “Byungjin line” with more panache than Robert Winstanley-Chesters, who examines the role of families and local neighborhood units in cultivating North Korean legitimacy.

Treasured Swords Finale: Abandoning a Developmental Paradigm at the Sixth Party Congress

By | July 06, 2013

Why did North Korea decline in the 1980s? And what are the historical roots of today’s “Byungjin line” resounding from Pyongyang? In the final installment of his framework-expanding trilogy, Sino-NK’s voluble environmental analyst explains.

Treasured Swords Redux: (Re)Construction and the “Rural Theses” of 1964

By | June 21, 2013

Robert Winstanley-Chesters revisits Kim Il-sung’s 1964 “Rural Theses” in pursuit of an analytical framework for assessing developmental policy under the Byungjin line. Part two of a three-part series.