Definitive program and conference poster

A3 Poster A State of Non-Legitimacy It took some doing, performing magic tricks with lecture halls, conjuring up discussants, contacting every media outlet in and outside Europe, and fighting off some dodgy characters with pronounced Hwanghae-do accents (no, not really), but the program for the conference has been finalized. It seems as if there’ll be lots of people, which is why we made sure to get the biggest lecture hall of Leiden University. And trust me, it is big. Big enough to accommodate the speakers, discussants, audience and the media. Haven’t heard from Pyongyang yet,

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A random quote from an awesome book

Memorial for Yelü Yanning in Khitan large script. Dated 986.

Memorial for Yelü Yanning in Khitan large script. Dated 986.

From From President To Prison from Ferdinand Ossendowski an idiosyncratic retelling of 10th- to 12th-century Northeast Asian history (the guy is just like a proper historian!):

In the course of my business, I made the acquaintance of the richest merchant of the town and heard from him some interesting law regarding these Kara-Khorch’ins. He told me that this tribe had often swept down toward the Great Wall,

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The South Manchurian Railway and academia

As a Dutch nationalmansyu-s11 who braved the vagaries of Dutch public transportation daily (not anymore! Now I just cycle to the institute. Life is good, to quote what was once called Lucky Goldstar, yes, Lucky Goldstar – I wonder how many marketing millions went into trying the erase the memory of Lucky Goldstar, btw, but that is an entirely different matter), I probably have a tendency to underestimate (and severely so)

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Man And Mystery in Asia – Ferdinand Ossendowski  

I was lucky this weekend to get a chance to read a book which has been lying on my desk for a few months now (next to

Man And Mystery In Asia

Man And Mystery In Asia

the ever-growing pile of the latest research in my field…): Man And Mystery in Asia by Ferdinand Ossendowski, the Polish noble/ chemist/ biologist/ geologist/ explorer/ fugitive from the Cheka and the Bolsheviks/ bestseller author/ hunter/ storyteller extraordinaire. I’m sure I’m leaving a number of defining qualifications out of this description, but the fact that he saw the inside of a prison both under the Tsar and under the Bolsheviks on account of ideological crimes tells you something about the man. That he was a fundamentally decent and courageous person. Or incredibly stupid and unfortunate to fall foul of two such formidable enemies,

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Classified materials obtained in dark and sinister ways

I wasUntitled just sent classified materials. 291 pages of classified, top secret data filled with numbers, analyses, tables, indexes. How do I know they  are classified, you ask? Well, this here to the left  is a dead give-away, the Chinese character equivalent of this immediately recognizable warning below:
UKUSA_top_secret


That is what it would have said had this been a 70s spy movie.

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