Cambria Press Countdown to the 2012 International Studies Association Annual Conference has begun!

The countdown to the International Studies Association (ISA) annual conference in San Diego has begun!

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To kick things off, Cambria Press is proud to announce that North Korea Demystified is scheduled for publication this year.

The editor of this forthcoming book by Cambria Press is Han S. Park with Regan Damron and Jonathan Polk .

Watch an interview with Dr. Park on the book. Below is a transcript of the interview:

Question: Why did you decide to write this book?

RESPONSE: We decided to write North Korea Demystified because there is a paucity of authoritative firsthand information on North Korea available to the citizens of the world’s democracies. This limits discourse on the subject, and creates a distortion between the national policies the public would choose if it had all the pertinent information and the policies governments actually pursue. More directly, public policy must itself be based upon credible and accurate information if it is to be effective. Indeed, at no other time has the need for this information been more acute. The six-party talks regarding the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula made plain the DPRK’s ambition (and ability) to play a larger role in world affairs, and its formal nuclear tests have exacerbated the tension and urgency of the situation. The death of Kim Jong-il and succession of his son Kim Jong-un, and recent reopening of bilateral discussions with the United States further increase the necessity of a nuanced understanding of contemporary society within the DPRK. If the world is to effectively deal with the reality of North Korea, reliable information is critical.

Question: What do you hope your readers take away from your book?

RESPONSE: We hope readers take away from our book an understanding that no matter how odd or dysfunctional North Korea’s behavior may seem, it acts in a fundamentally rational matter—but that this rationality must be put into context in order to be properly understood. That is, their rationality is not independent of their historical experience, their culture, their value structure, or their institutional constraints, and all of these things must be considered in order to discover the rationality behind the decision making that appears on its surface to be so ‘irrational’ and/or ‘dangerous.’ We also hope to supply the reader with much needed factual information garnered through firsthand experience by those who have actually visited and done research in North Korea, to provide a comprehensive overview of North Korean society rather than an in-depth treatment of any single characteristic of it.

Question: What other research do you believe is needed on this topic?

RESPONSE: In light of North Korea’s recent statement that it intends to launch a satellite on 15 April 2012 in order to commemorate the 100th birthday of Kim Il-sung, it has become even more apparent that what is needed is a more nuanced understanding of the domestic underpinnings of North Korea’s foreign policy. The goal of North Korea Demystified was to lift the veil on a society that remains opaque and resistant to outside scrutiny. It is imperative that future scholarship on the DPRK proceed from a position of empathy, one focused on understanding the unique worldview that originates from the particular circumstances of North Korean history, culture, and political institutions. Although the idea of North Korean government as representing the interests of members of the society is unpalatable to most scholars, no political system exists without meeting the needs of some sub-section of society. With respect to North Korea, we still do not know nearly enough about how the interests of society are aggregated by the institutions of the state, which groups of society’s interests are being articulated, and what political needs are and are not being addressed within the current political system.

Another forthcoming title that is a must for all political scientist is Doing Archival Research in Political Science edited by Scott A. Frisch, Douglas B. Harris, Sean Q. Kelly, and David C.W. Parker, which has already won the praise of noted experts.

There are also many other timely works that have been just published, including these which have already garnered excellent reviews by noted experts in the field:

Other important titles include:

Please visit our booth (#203) at the ISA book exhibit to see even more titles!

*If you would like to review any of these books for an academic journal, please e-mail Cambria Press at reviews[at]cambriapress.com or use the Cambria Press contact form.

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