Wilson Center Experts
Alyssa Park is a historian of modern Korea, with allied interests in borderlands history, transnational migration and space, and empires in East Asia. Her current project, Borderland Beyond, traces the migration of Koreans to the Russian Far East and Manchuria in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By examining the intersection among global ideas about mobility and citizenship, methods of border control, and communities of Korean migrants, she explores the transformation of modern state borders and identity in northeast Asia. Dr. Park received her A.B. from Princeton and Ph.D. from Columbia University. She joined the faculty of the University of Iowa in 2011.
Though the region where North Korea, Russia, and China intersect has been divided by stark national boundaries and identities since 1948, in the mid-nineteenth century it was a porous borderland where disparate groups, identities, and economies coexisted and contended with one another. This study examines how migration and cross-border processes transformed the porous borderland by analyzing the Korean migrant community - the largest ethnic group in the tripartite region - and its ties with multiple states. Departing from studies of the region that subsume the history of the borderland under narratives of particular nation-states, this project is a transnational history that employs sources in various languages and genres to illuminate the interactions between states and peoples that helped solidify national borders in the first place.