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Reading: Transnational Voyages: Reflections on Teaching Exodus to North Korea


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Teaching about Asia

Transnational Voyages: Reflections on Teaching Exodus to North Korea


Adam Cathcart

Pacific Lutheran University
About Adam
Adam Cathcart is Assistant Professor of History at Pacific Lutheran University, where he teaches courses on China, Korea, and Japan. His current research analyzes anti-Japanese nationalism in China during the U.S. occupation of Japan and also delves into the contemporary North Korean-Chinese frontier. Cathcart has co-authored several articles with his students, including publications in Twentieth-Century China and China Quarterly (with Patricia Nash) and Journal of Korean Studies and Review of Korean Studies (with Charles Kraus).
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Few courses are more difficult to teach than Modern Japan. While the myths, stereotypes, and deep sensitivities that cling to Japanese history might be held responsible for this difficulty, no less culpable are the relentlessly churning printing presses. The whole idea of “staying current” with scholarship on modern Japan, and the quest for the perfect combination of course texts, seems always out of reach and remains intimidating for scholars trained primarily in Chinese or Korean history. Naturally, reading the latest scholarship in order to lard one’s lectures with new details is a joy, but preparing to teach from a completely new monograph is a different and more daunting matter. And so my colleagues can be forgiven for being dismissive when a recommendation is advanced for yet another text to read and incorporate into their syllabi on modern Japanese history. In an environment of turbulence, transformation, and controversy, not changing one’s syllabus might be considered a mark of serenity and success.
How to Cite: Cathcart, A., 2009. Transnational Voyages: Reflections on Teaching Exodus to North Korea. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 17(1), pp.108–112. DOI:
Published on 01 Oct 2009.
Peer Reviewed


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