Political Science - News and Events
International Affairs Class Explores the Hermit Kingdom
- Thursday, January 27th, 2022
What do we really know about North Korea? Despite its geopolitical importance and curiosity surrounding Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, the country is a mystery to most people. Professor Timothy Rich’s class Politics of North Korea (PS 359) helps solve the mystery for students taking the class. The course makes WKU one of a limited number of universities that offer a course exclusively on North Korea.
“Almost everyone comes in with similar misconceptions and limited knowledge. No one’s been to North Korea,” says Dr. Rich. “Yet, they’ve all been exposed to often wild stories about the regime. Separating out what is verifiable versus conjecture and what is fact versus fiction is a transferable skill and this is a great context to develop this skill.”
Through scholarly work, news reports, first-person accounts, and more, students learn to evaluate the accuracy of claims about North Korea. Innovative assignments also make the class stand out. In 2020, the class analyzed original South Korean public opinion data about North Korea, with several students publishing in policy and peer-reviewed outlets. Dr. Rich hopes to repeat that success in spring 2022.
PS 359, Politics of North Korea, is offered every other spring.