The Leiden Initiative on Northern Korean (Leiden iNK) is located at Leiden University and administered from the Centre for Korean Studies.
We try not to talk too much about North Korea, but rather prefer to talk about northern Korea, both historically and in its Northeast Asian context. Contextualizing North Korea implies acknowledging that North Korea also has a history that predates 1945; a history it shares with South Korea, and with China. Admittedly, North Korea, like any other state, is the historically contingent outcome of many different historical processes. Taking this historical contingency seriously, Leiden iNK moves away from a power centred historiography (with political centres located variously in Seoul, Pyongyang, Beijing, Tokyo, Washington or Moscow), and instead posits Northeast Asia as a historically identifiable region ever since its formation during the 10th and 11th centuries. Reading North Korea in such a context sheds unexpected insights on the emergence of the North Korean state. Rather than reading North Korea as a separate (and separated) part of South Korean history, Leiden iNK also reads North Korean history as deeply implicated in Manchurian (Northeast Asian) history. This historical reality is testified by the ongoing historiographical struggle between the Koreas and China over the legitimacy of their claims on ancient and medieval Manchurian history.
That at least is how this blog started. It then kinda developed into being my private professional working blog. And that is what is is now, the blog of Remco Breuker, Professor of Korean Studies at Leiden University. I post research-related things here and I don’t mince words. In that sense it is private, in terms of subject matter it is professional. The best of both worlds. Or the worst, depending how you look at it.