CV & Publications

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Steven’s CV can be accessed here: Steven Denney’s CV

Below is a selected list of his ongoing research, recent publications, conference presentations, and media engagements.



The Foundations of National Identity in Post-Autocratic South Korea

What is the relationship between political system type and national identity? Existing research suggests that citizens in countries with consolidated democratic institutions have national identities that are more open and inclusive. But what about citizens in new(er) democracies? How do national identities differ between pre- and post-transition generations? Do identities forged under autocratic regimes change, or are they resilient over time? Using pooled cross-sectional data on South Korean national identity between 2003 and 2015, this research considers whether people who were socialized under democratic political conditions have national identities different from those who came of age under autocracy. Using newly collected survey and interview data, this research also leverages a natural experiment in institutional change to isolate the effects of both “growing up autocratic” and exposure to democratic institutions by comparing responses from native South Koreans with that of resettled North Korean defector-migrants.

Forthcoming, Winter 2018.


New Settlers: Insights into the Social and Political Transformation of the Korean Peninsula [In preparation, with Christopher Green].

This book is a mixed-method comparative study of North and South Korea from the perspective of North Korean defector-migrants. This group is unique in that they bear the right to citizenship in both Koreas and have experienced living under divergent political and social institutions. What do their views, opinions, and perspectives reveal about the changes and transformations taking place in North and South Korea? The empirical focus of this book is opinion surveys of North Korean migrants currently residing in South Korea, administered in 2016 and 2018. It asks their opinion of various characteristics of South and North Korea: the political regimes (democracy/socialism), economic systems (capitalist/socialist), and various elements of society. The survey findings are complemented by 100+ in-depth interviews.


“What is Democracy and Who Supports It? The Case of South Korea.” [Forthcoming, Rowman and Littlefield].

“The Ebb and Flow of National Heroes: Ahn Jung-geun in Discourse, Memory, and Politics,” with Christopher Green. [Under review]

“Transforming a Cluster While Building a Firm: Entrepreneurs and the Evolution of Toronto’s ICT Cluster,” with Dr. David Wolfe and Travis Southin.” [Under review]

“Studying North Korean through North Korean Migrants: Lessons from the Field,” with Dr. Jay Song. [Under review]

“Nationalism After Autocracy: Generational Change and National Identity in South Korea.” [In preparation for journal submission]

“Becoming South Korean: What the Re-socialization of North Korean Migrants Tell Us about Identity Change.” [In preparation for journal submission]

I. ARTICLES (download via

2014. “How Authoritarian Regimes Maintain Domain Consensus: North Korea’s Information Strategies in the Kim Jong-un Era,” with Adam Cathcart and Christopher Green, Review of Korean Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2: 145-178.

2014. “South Korea and a New Nationalism in an Era of Strength and Prosperity,” with Karl Friedhoff, Stanford Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 121-129.

2013. “Towards a Developmental Understanding of North Korea: an Institutional Approach to Economic Reform and Development,” with Christopher Green, British Academy of Korean Studies (BAKS) Journal, Vol. 15, pp. 92-111.

2013. “North Korea’s Cultural Diplomacy in the Early Kim Jong-un Era,” with Adam Cathcart, North Korean Review, Vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 29-42.


2016. “Kim Jong-un and the Practice of Songun Politics,” with Christopher Green and Adam Cathcart, Change and Continuity in North Korean Politics, Adam Cathcart et al. (eds.) (Routledge, Fall/Winter 2016).

2016. “Pockets of Efficiency: An Institutional Approach to Economic Reform and Development,” with Christopher Green, Change and Continuity in North Korean Politics, Adam Cathcart et al. (eds.) (Routledge, Fall/Winter 2016).

2016. “The Whisper in the Ear: Re-defector Press Conference as Information Management Tool,” in On Korea: Volume 8 (Korean Economic Institute, 2016).

2015. “The Implications of Civic Diplomacy for ROK Foreign Policy,” with Peter Hayes et al., in Complexity, Security and Civil Society in East Asia: Foreign Policies and the Korean Peninsula, Peter Hayes and Kiho Yi (eds.) (Open Book Publishers).


2013. Nation, State, and National Economy: The Early 19th Century American Developmental State, Yonsei University, June.


2018. “Unification in Action? The National Identity of North Korean Defector-Migrants: Insights and Implications,” with Christopher Green, Korean Economic Institute of America: Academic Paper Series, October 1.

2016. Identité nationale et nationalisme nord-coréens [North Korean national identity and nationalism], Korea Analysis no. 11: 40-44. (Translated by Antoine Bondaz)

2016. «Hell Chosun», expression de l’insatisfaction de la jeunesse sudcoréenne [“Hell Chosen:]” Expressions of Dissatisfaction among South Korean Youth], Korea Analysis no. 9: 42-45. (Translated by Antoine Bondaz)

2015. “The Whisper in the Ear: Re-defector Press Conference as Information Management Tool,” with Christopher Green and Brian Gleason, Korean Economic Institute, March 12.

2015. “The Tumen Triangle Documentation Project Goes to China: AKS Special Edition,” with Adam Cathcart and Christopher Green (Introduction by James Hoare),, January.

2013. “Confronting History in East Asia,” in Proceedings for Asan Plenum 2013: “New World Disorder,” The Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

2012. “American Foreign Policy towards the Korean Peninsula,” in Proceedings for Asan Plenum 2012: “Leadership,” The Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

2012. “Understanding 21st Century East Asia: the Bi-Furcated Regional Order and Competing-Hubs Theory,” Yonsei Journal of International Studies Vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 243-268

V. SELECTED ONLINE PUBLICATIONS (All Diplomat columns can be read here.)

2018. “A Black Korean in Pyongyang: Ethnic identity is the latest issue to split the two Koreas,” with Andray Abrahamian, Foreign Policy, July 17.

2017. “South Korea’s 19th Presidential Election: Lessons Learned,” The Diplomat, May 12.

2017. “South Koreans Can’t Agree What Democracy Is,” Foreign Policy, March 13.

2016. “Presidential Scandal in South Korea Creates Power Vacuum,” Foreign Policy, November 2.

2016. “From hero to zero: North Korea’s failure in Yanbian,” with Christopher Green, NK News Pro, June 14.

2016. “How Beijing Turned Koreans Into Chinese,” with Christopher Green, The Diplomat, June 9.

2016. “North Korean Nationalism: Lessons from Pyongyang,” Sino-NK, June 8.

2016. “Young South Koreans’ Realpolitik Attitude Towards the North,” The Diplomat, January 16, 2016.

2015. “Self-Immolation Highlights Plight of South Korean Contract Workers,” The Diplomat, February 21, 2015.

2015. “In South Korea, Changing Attitudes Toward Marriage,” The Diplomat, February 27, 2015.

2014. “What’s Wrong with South Korea’s Liberals?,” The Diplomat, September 16.

2014. “Bullet Trains and Wood-Burning Trucks,” with Adam Cathcart, Daily NK, April 28.

2013. “South Korea and a New Nationalism in an Era of Strength and Prosperity,” with Karl Friedhoff CSIS PacNet #75, October 7.

2013. “Defector Testimonies in a Polarized Society: From Implausible Story to Political Controversy,” with Christopher Green, Korean Quarterly, July.

2013. “Progressive Mayor of Seoul Labeled as ‘Pro-North Korean,’” with Christopher Green, koreaBANG, March 4.

2013. “North Korean Nuclear Test: South Korean Media Review,” with Christopher Green, NK News, February 13.

2012. “Personality Politics Stifle Korean Democracy,” Asia Times, October 30.

2012. “The Cold War is Sustained Through Pyongyang: The East-West Divide in Northeast Asia,”, June 12.


2018. “Park Chung Hee and Modern Korea: The Roots of Militarism, 1866-1945, by Carter Eckert,Korea Journal, Vol. 58, no. 3: 184-190.

2018. “Unveiling the North Korean Economy: Collapse and Transition, by Byung-Yeon Kim,” Journal of American-East Asian Relations, Vol. 25, no. 1: 93-96.

2018. “North Korea’s Hidden Revolution, by Jieun Baek,” Pacific Affairs, Vol 91, no. 1: 176-178.

2015. “Assimilating Seoul: Japanese Rule and the Politics of Public Space in Colonial Korea, 1910–1945 by Todd A. Henry,” BAKS Papers, October 15.

2015. “The Korean War: An International History by Wada Haruki,” BAKS Papers, May 4.

2015. “Brokers Of Empire: Japanese Settler Colonialism In Korea, 1876–1945 by Jun Uchida,” BAKS Papers, May 13.

2014. “The Oxford Handbook of the International Relations of Asia,” Asan Forum, Vol. 2, no. 6.

2013. “Historical Narratives and Juche Blueprints,” review of Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950-1992, by Charles Armstrong, Korean Quarterly, October.

2012. “To Never Forget, One Must First Know,” review of Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West, by Blaine Harden, Korea Review, Vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 171-175.

2012. “Strategic Distrust in the Age of China’s Rise,” Yonsei Journal of International Studies Vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 163-167.


2016. “Landscapes, Apartments, and Beyond: A Conversation with Valérie Gelézeau,” published by the University of Toronto’s Centre for the Study of Korea, January 27.

2016. “Bringing Generational Analysis Back In? An Interview with Shelley Rigger,” published at, January 18.

2015. “Rationalizing Identity Change: An Interview with Emma Campbell,” published at, September 7.

2015. “Taiwan’s Collective Memory of Japan: Around the Horn,” interview with Taiwanese and/or Taiwan studies scholars, published at, August 31.

2015. “The Economics of Identity Change in South Korea,” interview with South Korean pastor-activist Lee Gi-young, published at, June 19.

2013. “History and Revolution: An Interview with Dr. Suzy Kim,” interview with professor Suzy Kim, published at, December 16.

2012. “Gusts of Popular Feeling: Presidential Election Race and North Korea,” interview with Asan Institute Program Officer Karl Friedhoff, published at, October 7.

2012. “Asia in the Age of the Pivot: Understanding Asia in the 21st Century,” interview with Professor Moon Chung-in, published in Papers, Essays and Reviews: Yonsei Journal of International Studies Vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 143-155.

2011. “A Historian’s Perspective: Understanding China and North Korea,” interview with Professor John Delury, published in Papers, Essays and Reviews: Yonsei Journal of International Studies Vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 307-315.

2012. “China’s Pragmatic Approach to the North Korea Problem: Andrei Lankov on What China Wants,”, April 11.


2018. “Transforming a Cluster While Building a Firm: Entrepreneurs and the Evolution of Toronto’s ICT Cluster,” 5th Annual Creating Digital Opportunity Partnership Meeting, Vancouver, BC, April 25-27.

2018. “Does Democracy Matter? What the Re-socialization of North Korean Migrants in South Korea Tells Us About the Relationship Between Institutions and National Identity,” Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, Illinois, April 5-8.

2018. “After Defection: The Identity Politics of Integrating North Korean Refugees,” Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference, Washington DC, April 18-21.

2017. “Korea and the World: New Frontiers in Korean Studies,” Conference/Workshop at the George Washington University, Washington, D.C., May 23-24 .

2016. “Assessing Ethnic National Identity among North Korean Migrants in the ROK,” Brookings Institution Second Annual Young and Brave Conference, Washington, D.C., September 30.

2016. “What the Re-socialization of North Korean Immigrants Tells Us about Changes in Contemporary South Korean National Identity,” Joint East Asian Studies Conference (JEAS), SOAS, London, UK, September 7 – 9.

2016. “What the Re-socialization of North Korean Immigrants Tells Us about Changes in Contemporary South Korean National Identity,” Academy of Korean Studies (AKS) 127th Overseas Korean Studies Colloquium, Bundang, South Korea, August 18.

2016. “Transformation of Korean National Identity: What Can Different Developmental Experiences Tell Us about National Identity Formation?” Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington, March 31-April 3.

2015. “Telling Tales: North Korea’s Use of Re-Defectors,” presentation for KEI’s Academic Paper Series, March 12.

2015. “Contentious Politics on the Korean Peninsula: A Workshop for Koreanists,” Social Movements and Contentious Politics: Theories and Methods of Local Protest and Global Activism, University of Toronto, March 8.

2015. “Activated Borders: Re-openings, Ruptures and Relationships,” 4th Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network, City University of Hong Kong, December 8-10.

2014. 7th World Congress of Korean Studies, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, November 5-7.

2014. “Post-Cold War Borders: Global Trends and Regional Responses,” Association for Borderlands Studies, 1st World Conference, Joensuu, Finland – St. Petersburg, Russia, June 9-13.

2014. “Changes and Variations in Post-Industrial South Korea: a Primer on a New Nationalism,” 17th Annual Harvard East Asia Conference, Harvard University, March 21-23.

2012. “The Political Economy of Trade Policy in the KORUS FTA,” 2012 ASAK/ASI International Conference, “The United States in East Asia,” Seoul National University, September 21-22.

2012. “Understanding 21st Century East Asia: the Bi-Furcated Regional Order and Competing-Hubs Theory,” Presented at Yonsei University GSIS, 25th Anniversary Academic Conference “Beyond the New Millennium: End of Western Hegemony?,” May 1.

2011. “The Political Economy of Trade Policy,” Presented at Korea International Studies Association (KISA), Second Annual Convention: Changing Dynamics and Emerging Issues in International Affairs, Yonsei University, October 27-28.

2011. “Can You Hear Me Now? The United Nations Millennium Development Goals and Information & Communications Technologies in the Developing World” Final Policy Memo Presented at the New Millennium Policy Forum, Yonsei University, June 8.


2017. “South Korea’s millennials could determine fate of U.S. alliance,” The State, August 7. (media quote/interview)

2017. “A Liberal Triumphs in South Korea: Who Is Moon Jae-in?,” The Diplomat’s Podcast: Asia Geopolitics, May 12. (podcast/interview)

2017. “La Corée du Sud sous Moon Jae-in en six questions,” Le Devoir, May 10. (interview)

2017. “Corée du Sud: les enjeux de l’élection présidentielle,” Les Voix du Monde, May 8. (interview)

2017. “Angeknackstes Urvertrauen,” Wiener Zeitung, May 2. (media quote/interview)

2016. “Everything You Wanted to Know About South Korea’s ‘Choi-Gate’,” The Diplomat’s Podcast: Asia Geopolitics, November 8. (podcast/interview)

2016. “A South Korean scandal with overtones of Clinton’s emails,” LA Times, October 25. (media quote)

2016. “The next generation of Korean experts: Global views of the peninsula,” Brookings Institution, September 30. (roundtable discussion)

2016. “Korea and the World Podcast Episode 71,” Korea and the World, August 19. (interview/podcast)

2016. “South Korean lawmakers try first filibuster since 1969 to block anti-terrorism bill,” LA Times, Feburary 24. (media quote)

2015. “Making Sense of North Korea’s Re-defector Press Conferences,” Korea Economic Institute of America, March 12. (interview/podcast)

2014. Blogginheads “Worldwise,” with Dr. Adam Cathcart, October 10. (interview/vblog)

2014. “The Uncertain Future of Liberalism in South Korea,” The Diplomat’s Podcast: Korea Talk, August 29. (interview/podcast)

2014. “Understanding North Korea’s Behavior,” The Diplomat’s Podcast: Korea Talk, August 7. (interview/podcast)

2014. Blogginheads “Worldwise,” with Yong Kwon, July 21. (interview/podcast)