In 2016, the Centre for Chinese Studies’ “Initiating Korean Studies Programme in Africa” was selected as one of the “Seed Programs for Korean Studies” by the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS). The AKS supports one of the Centre’s initiatives, Building Asian literacy in Africa, through various programmes from 2016 to 2019. This support will enable the Centre to significantly expand its research capacity on Korea and Korea-Africa relations and contribute to facilitating deeper understanding between Korea and Africa.

CCS PUBLIC SEMINAR l ‘Soft, Hard or Smart? North Korea’s Relation with Power’

  • Speaker     Dr Virginie Grzelczyk (Aston University, UK)
  • Date            19 May 2017
  • Time           13:00-14:00
  • Venues      JS Gericke Library Auditorium

Click  here for more information.

North Korea is notable for its political and economic isolation, yet the Korea Central News Agency’s daily editions are filled with articles outlining nations’ admiration for Pyongyang and its leader. What is the nature of these relationships? Do they matter in our understanding and appraisal of North Korea’s foreign policy? Could North Korea be trying to establish itself as an exemplary toward other developing countries? Could it be that Pyongyang is now actively promoting soft power as an integral part of, not only its survival, but its development strategy too? While scholarship on North Korea tends to focus on Pyongyang’s ‘high profile’ relations with China and Russia or with nations seeking weapons of mass destruction and thus engaging into ‘rogue collusion’, very little attention has indeed been paid to how the DPRK engages in peaceful diplomacy with the outside world. This presentation will examine the notion of hard, soft, sticky and smart power by focusing on current DPRK rhetoric and developing partnerships with both states and non-state actors. It suggests that the DPRK has started to pursue a strategy of diplomatic diversification, suggesting a more sophisticated understanding of power which has been overlooked in much work on the country.

2017 AKS Postgraduate Scholarship

Current scholar – Caitlin Troup


Caitlin Troup obtained her BA degree in International Studies in 2015, and her Honours in International Studies in 2016, both from Stellenbosch University. Her research interests include international relations, gender, peace and conflict studies and political risk, focusing on the African and Asian diasporas.

Caitlin is currently pursuing her Master’s degree with a strong focus on gender-specific risks that women experience, from inequality to violence, in South Korea and South Africa.


Seminar Series l Korean Migrants in the Rainbow State: Transnational links and practices

2016_CCS Event_Korean Migrants in the Rainbow State Transnational Links and Practices_Ahn

  • Title          Korean Migrants in the Rainbow State: Transnational Links and Practices
  • Speaker  Yonson Ahn,  Professor & Director of Korean Studies, Goethe-University of Frankfurt
  • Date         Friday, 12 August 2016
  • Time        12:15 – 13:30
  • Venue     Room 648, Arts and Social Sciences Building, Stellenbosch University

Prof. Ahn is director of Korean Studies at Frankfurt University.  Her research interests include transnational migration, such as transnational marriage migrants and Korean diasporas; gender-based violence in conflicts, especially the issues of “comfort women” during WWII; and historical controversies in East Asia and oral history. Her current research project  is related to transnational migration and gender, focusing on negotiating gender and ethnic identities of Korean migrant workers in Germany and Asian marriage migrants in South Korea.