South Korea’s democratic transition

hwang-human rightsHuman Rights and Transnational Democracy in South Korea (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022), written by Assistant Professor of the Practice in International Studies Ingu Hwang, offers the first account of the historical intersection between South Korea’s democratic transition and the global human rights boom in the 1970s. Drawing on previously unused or underutilized archival sources, Human Rights and Transnational Democracy in South Korea shows how local pro-democracy activists pragmatically engaged with global advocacy groups, especially Amnesty International and the World Council of Churches, to maximize their socioeconomic and political struggles against the backdrop of South Korea’s authoritarian industrialization and U.S. hegemony in East Asia. Hwang details how local pro-democracy protesters were able to translate their sufferings and causes into international human rights claims that highlighted how U.S. Cold War geopolitics impeded democratization in South Korea. Hwang, whose expertise is on modern Korean history and politics, is also a faculty board member of the Asian Studies Program.

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