Universiteit Leiden

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Koen de Ceuster

Researcher / Guest

Dr. K. de Ceuster
+31 71 527 2727

Koen de Ceuster is a guest researcher at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies.

More information about Koen de Ceuster

Fields of interest

  • Intellectual history of modern Korea
  • Socio-cultural history of colonial Korea
  • Historiography and the politics of memory in contemporary Korea
  • Inter-Korean affairs
  • North Korean art theory & practice



  • 1994: PhD in Japanese Studies, K.U. Leuven, Belgium. Dissertation title: From Modernization to Collaboration, the Dilemma of Korean Cultural Nationalism: the Case of Yun Ch’i-ho [1865-1945]
  • 1986: Licentiate degree in Sino-Japanese Studies, K.U.Leuven, Belgium


  • 1995 - present: lecturer in Korean Studies, Leiden University
  • 1991-1995: research assistant, K.U.Leuven, Belgium

Key publications

A: Books and monographs

2013: with Valérie Gelézeau and Alain Delissen, eds. De-Bordering Korea: Tangible and Intangible Legacies of the Sunshine Policy (Routledge, forthcoming)

2008b: with J. Melissen, eds. Ending the North Korean Nuclear Crisis – Six Parties, Six Perspectives ( The Hague: Clingendael Institute) 226p.

2008a: with David Heather, North Korean Posters. The David Heather Collection (Munich: Prestel Verlag, 2008) 285p.

2004: The World according to Kim Jong Il (From the collection of W. van der Bijl and R.J.C.M. De Groen (private publication) 80p.

B: Main articles and book chapters

2010d: “To be an Artist in North Korea: Talent and Then Some More” in Ruediger Frank, ed. Exploring North Korean Arts (Nürnberg: Verlag für Moderne Kunst), pp. 51-71.

2010c: “Interfaces et reconfigurations de la question Nord/Sud en Corée” (with Valérie Gelézeau, Eric Bidet, Elisabeth Chabanol, Sébastien Colin, Alain Delissen, Benjamin Joineau and Marie-Orange Rivé-Lasan) in EspacesTemps.net

2010b: “The Third Man: Yi Wijong and the Korean Mission to the 1907 Hague Peace Conference” in Martine Prost, ed. Mélanges offerts à Marc Orange et Alexandre Guillemoz (Cahiers d’Etudes Coréennes 8) Paris: Collège de France, pp. 131-42.

2010a: “When History is Made: History, Memory and the Politics of Remembrance in Contemporary Korea” in Korean Histories 2: 1, pp. 13-33.

2008c: “Fear and Loathing in the DPRK: Beyond the Nuclear Crisis” in K. De Ceuster & J. Melissen (eds.), Ending the North Korean Nuclear Crisis – Six Parties, Six Perspectives. (The Hague: Clingendael Institute), pp. 21-35.

2008b: “When History Matters: Reconstructing South Korea’s National Memory in the Age of Democracy” in Steffi Richter (ed.) Contested Views of a Common Past: Revisions of History in Contemporary East Asia. (Frankfurt, New York: Campus Verlag), pp. 47-72 .

2008a: “1907년 헤이그 특사의 성공과 좌절” (Success and failure of the Korean Delegation at the 2nd Hague Peace Conference) in 한국사학보 ( Han’guksa hakpo, 30, pp. 309-54.

2007: “The World in a Book: Yu Kilchun’s Sŏyu Kyŏnmun” in Remco E. Breuker (ed.), Koreain the Middle. Korean Studies and Area Studies (Leiden: CNWS Publications), pp. 67-96.

2005: “Pride and Prejudice in South Korea’s Foreign Policy” in Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies 21, pp. 646-90.

2004: “The Fashionability of Han” (with Roald H. Maliangkay) in Michel Demeuldre, (Ed.), Sentiments doux-amers dans les musiques du monde.Délectations moroses dans les blues, fado, tango, flamenco, rebetiko, p'ansori, ghazal... (Paris: L'Harmattan) pp. 201-12.

2003b: “Through the Master's Eye: Colonized Mind and Historical Consciousness in the Case of Yun Ch'iho (1865-1945)” in Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung, 27 (2003), pp. 107-31.

2003a: “Wholesome Education and Sound Leisure. The YMCA Sports Programme in Colonial Korea” in European Journal of East Asian Studies, 2:1, pp. 53-88.

2002: “The Nation Exorcised: The Historiography of Collaboration in South Korea” in Korean Studies, 25:2, pp. 207-42.

2000b: “The Changing Nature of National Icons in the Seoul Landscape” in The Review of Korean Studies, 3:2, pp. 73-103.

2000a: “The YMCA’s Rural Development Program in Colonial Korea, 1925-35: Doctrine and Objectives” in The Review of Korean Studies, 3:1, pp. 5-33.


  • Modern history of Korea
  • Divided Korea
  • Modern East Asian History
  • Various Korean language courses
  • MA dissertation class (modern history)

PhD supervision

Co-supervisor (with Boudewijn Walraven) of Min-Kyung Yoon,
“Historical Representations in North Korean Visual Culture”

Research grants and projects

2010: 6 month Korea Foundation Field Research Fellowship

2009: organizer of the 24th biennial conference of the Association for Korean Studies in Europe ( Leiden, 18-21 June)

2008—: co-director of “History as Social Process: Unconventional Historiographies of Korea,” an Academy of Korean Studies sponsored 5-year Strategic Initiative for Korean Studies Institutional Grant

2001: 10 month NWO research grant

1999: 3 month Korea Foundation grant for research in Korea

1986-90: Flemish Community Scholarship Research Student at The Academy of Korean Studies (Songnam, ROK)

Editorial boards and academic councils

2011—: Chairman of the European Forum for Korean-Japanese History ;
2011—: Treasurer, Association for Korean Studies in Europe (AKSE);
2010—: Editorial board member of the International Association for Korean Historical Studies
2009—: Managing co-editor of e-journal Korean Histories
2009—: Member of the editorial board of the Bulletin de l’École française d’Extrême Orient
2009—: Member of the academic council of the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS, Leiden)
2007-11: Secretary and council member of AKSE
2007—: Editorial board member Review of Korean Studies
2006—: Editorial board member of Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies
2004-06: Steering Committee member of the Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea
2003—: Researcher for Overseas Historical Materials, National Institute for Korean History (R.O. Korea)
1999-2003: AKSE Council Member
1997-2005: Korea Editor of the IIAS (International Institute of Asian Studies) Newsletter
1996-2005: Editor of the AKSE Newsletter

Contributions to the field

  • active participation in international conferences (AAS, AKSE, ISKS, WCKS)
  • invited guest speaker at conferences and workshops
  • frequent guest lectures, home and abroad
  • frequent reviews for peer reviewed journals
  • external examiner ( Stockholm University, ULB, EHESS, SOAS)
  • consultant for Korea Foundation
  • frequent media contacts (interviews and background briefings), home and abroad, on inter-Korean affairs (CBC, NHK, NYT, Le Monde, RFA, VRT, NRC, de Volkskrant, Trouw, De Morgen, De Standaard, BNR, Radio 1)
  • consultant and co-curator of North Korean art exhibitions (Rotterdam: 2004, Hawai’i: 2011)
  • communications’ consultant, Comrade Kim goes Flying (2012, UK/Belgium /DPRK)

Researcher / Guest

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS Korea



  • No relevant ancillary activities
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