Armstrong, Charles K.

The Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences

Office Hours

Spring 2019: Wednesday 3-5 PM



Ph.D. – University of Chicago, 1994
Diploma in Korean Language – Yonsei University, 1986
M.Sc. – London School of Economics, 1988
B.A. – Yale University, 1984


Interests and Research

Professor Charles Armstrong specializes in modern Korean, East Asian, and international history. His latest books are Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950-1992 (Cornell, 2013) and The Koreas (Routledge, second edition 2014). He is completing A History of Modern East Asia for the Wiley Blackwell Concise History of the Modern World series, to be published in 2019. Professor Armstrong's next book project deals with US cultural policy in Asia during the early Cold War.



  • Approaches to International and Global History
  • Geopolitics
  • Contemporary Civilization in the West
  • History of the World, 1450 CE to the Present
  • History of Modern Korea
  • Korean Civilization



  • Toyota Fellow, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea - September - December 2008
  • Fellow, Institute for Scholars at Reid Hall - 2006
  • Association for Asian Studies Northeast Asia Council Travel Grant, 2004
  • German Academic Exchange Grant, Humboldt University - 2002
  • Smith-Richardson Junior Faculty Research Grant - 2001
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Grant - 2000


  • Founding Member and Visiting Professor (2018–2021), Center for Trans-Regional Studies of the Belt and Road, College of Arts and Sciences, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, China
  • Associate Fellow, The Asia Society
  • Member, American Historical Association
  • Member, Association for Asian Studies
  • Member, National Committee on North Korea 
  • Member and founding co-chair, The Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea 




Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950-1992

A History of Modern East Asia, 1800-Present

The Koreas

Korea at the Center: Dynamics of Regionalism in Northeast Asia

The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950

Korean Society: Civil Society, Democracy, and the State Recent

Scholarly Articles

“Socialist Postmodernism: Conceptual and Comparative Analysis of Recent Representative Architecture in Pyongyang, Astana and Ashgabat, 1989 – 2014”, Tiempo Devorada vol. 2, no. 2 (July 2015).

“Sino-American Negotiations on Korea and Kissinger’s UN Diplomacy”, Cold War History vol. 15, no. 1 (February 2015).

“Development and Directions of Korean Studies in the United States,” Journal of Contemporary Korean Studies vol. 1, no. 1 (January 2015).

“Illusions of Autonomy and the Autonomy of Illusions,” Pacific Affairs vol. 87, no. 4 (December 2014).

"Can the Korean Princelings Make Progress?" Current History, (September 2013).

“Une autre Corée,” Revue des Deux Mondes, (March 2012).

“The Korean Peninsula on the Verge,” Current History, (September 2011).

“Trends in the Study of North Korea,” Journal of Asian Studies vol. 70, no. 2 (June 2011).

“Contesting the Peninsula,” New Left Review no. 51 (May – June 2008).

"Inter-Korean Relations in Historical Perspective," International Journal of Korean Unification Studies vol. 14, no. 2 (December 2005).

"Familism, Socialism and Political Religion in North Korea," Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions vol. 6, no. 3 (December 2005).

"'Fraternal Socialism': The International Reconstruction of North Korea, 1953-1962," Cold War Historyvol. 5, no. 2 (May 2005).

"U.S. - North Korean Relations," Asian Perspective vol. 28, no. 4 (December 2004).

"The Cultural Cold War in Korea," Journal of Asian Studies vol. 62, no. 1 (February 2003).