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Department of History presents: Charles Armstrong

151 Eggers Hall

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Charles Armstrong, Columbia University

Postmodern Pyongyang: North Korea's Transformations through its Changing Built Environment

North Korea is usually seen as a country stuck in a Stalinist time-warp. In fact, North Korea's urban landscape has evolved in numerous ways over the last several decades. Its architecture since 1989—the year Pyongyang hosted the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students—can be characterized as "socialist postmodernism," still dictated by the directives of the central state yet surprisingly resonant with both Western postmodernism and post-socialist trends in the former Soviet Union and China. Charles Armstrong will discuss Pyongyang’s built environment as a reflection of broader changes in North Korea’s culture and society. 

Professor Charles Armstrong is The Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences at Columbia University. His latest book is Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950 – 1992 (Cornell University Press, 2013), won the 2014 American Historical Association John Fairbank Prize for East Asian History.

Sponsored by the Department of History, the Maxwell School, and the East Asia Program at the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs.

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Exterior of Maxwell in black and white when there was no Eggers building

We’re Turning 100!

To mark our centennial in the fall of 2024, the Maxwell School will hold special events and engagement opportunities to celebrate the many ways—across disciplines and borders—our community ever strives to, as the Oath says, “transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

Throughout the year leading up to the centennial, engagement opportunities will be held for our diverse, highly accomplished community that now boasts more than 38,500 alumni across the globe.