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Indiana University

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EASC Newsletter

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A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

December 2012

Alumni Updates

Greg Johnson (EALC PhD 2009) published a chapter "Remembering Exile: The Search for Postwar Meanings of Japan's Wartime Childhood Evacuation," which is based on part of his dissertation, in a conference volume Gengo bunka no shosō (Aspects of language and culture), pp. 59-76, Paul Underwood, et.al., eds., Osaka, Media Island, 2012


Alumnus Profile: Thomas Stock

EALC M.A., 2012

Thomas Stock Picture

Thomas Stock (EALC M.A., 2012) credits his German roots for setting him on the unlikely path of studying North Korea. “Because of my ability to read and speak German, I stumbled upon the subject of Marxism,” said Thomas. First drawn to Mao Zedong thought, Thomas found his true calling to be the study of North Korea’s political philosophy. “I decided that I would attempt to go on to graduate school in order to continue my study of this fascinating subject.”

Hailing from a small town in Saxony, Thomas relocated to Texas when he was 15. There he completed both his high school and undergraduate education, during which he was able to study abroad in Daegu, South Korea. The experience solidified his interest in the “hermit kingdom” and inspired him to apply to IU’s M.A. program in EALC. At IU, Thomas’ philosophical bent led him to investigate the effects of Marxism on North Korean state ideology, known as Juche. “Not only are the philosophical similarities rather blatant, but Marxism’s evolution is much more obviously traceable in North Korean history,” Thomas asserted. “Indeed, as I continued to explore the relationship between Marxism and Juche, I became more and more convinced that there is something worth informing people about.”  Thomas found much to praise in his program and in the EALC faculty. He especially credits Professors Heon Joo Jung (EALC) and Michael Robinson (EALC) with guiding and encouraging his studies, and thanks former graduate secretary Lara Tokarski for smooth administrative sailing. Thomas’ academic prowess was recognized by EASC in the second year of his program, when he was awarded the Society of Friends of Korean Studies’ (SOFOKS) Graduate Fellowship, which provided tuition remission and a stipend. “The EASC was of invaluable help along the way,” he noted. “Most importantly, the SOFOKS fellowship allowed me to focus on my M.A. Thesis during my last year at IU while at the same time applying for PhD programs.”

After graduating from IU in May, Thomas continued his academic journey at UCLA pursuing his doctoral degree in Cultural Comparative studies. The program allows for maximum flexibility enabling Thomas to take coursework in philosophy, history, and language under the likes of John Duncan and Nam Hee Lee. He credits the relationships developed at EALC for taking him this far. “The most important thing, I think, is human relationships, or, as Professor Hyo Sang Lee (EALC) would say, “인간 관계.”  Without connections to faculty members, any scholar’s career is doomed to failure.  Regularly communicating with them, especially your adviser, is essential.” Although he has only been on the west coast for a few short months, Thomas already has one very big accomplishment to share: “I have learned how to drive in L.A.!”     

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