Cumings to headline Wyman Visiting Professorship in History

March 15, 2018 – Bruce Cumings, an expert on the history of the Korean War and the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in History at the University of Chicago, will speak at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls March 28 and 29.

Cumings is the guest lecturer in the Walker D. and Helen Bryant Wyman Visiting Professorship in History program. He will hold three free public events in River Falls pertaining to the history of the Korean War and U.S.-Korea relations. The events include:

Lecture: “Provincialism and Internationalism in U.S. Foreign Policy,” Wednesday, March 28, at 4 p.m., in the Kinnickinnic Theater in the University Center. Cumings will discuss the evolution of America’s relationship with the world, from George Washington’s Farewell Address to America’s transformation from isolationism to internationalism in the post-World War II era – and potentially changing again under the Trump administration. The event begins with a reception at 4 p.m. with the lecture following at 4:30 p.m.

Roundtable Discussion: “The Korean War: A History,” Thursday, March 29, at 1:45 p.m., in the Chalmer Davee Library second floor breezeway. Cumings will discuss his 2011 book on the Korean War beginning with a reception at 1:45 p.m., with the discussion following at 2 p.m. In his book, Cumings describes the war as a preordained civil war which began over fury from Japan’s occupation of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45, rather than a war against North Korean communism as seen by most Americans.

Lecture: “American Policy Toward North Korea: Seven Decades of Failure” on Thursday, March 29, at 6 p.m. at the River Falls Public Library, 140 Union Street. Cumings will argue that the threat of war between the United States and North Korea lies in the failure of flawed assumptions and erroneous conceptions about North Korea and its inner workings. The evening begins with a 6 p.m. reception. The lecture follows at 6:30 p.m.

Cumings is the author of 12 books, most of which deal with Korea and the Korean War, including “Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History,” “North Korea: Another Country,” “War and Television,” and a two-volume history titled “Origins of the Korean War,” which won the John King Fairbank Book Award from the American Historical Association. He is the editor of the “Cambridge History of Korea,” scheduled for publication in 2020.

The three events are also part of UWRF’s “Year of” program.

For more information, visit or call the UWRF History Department at 715-425-3164.

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