Making a Third Korea: The Yanbian Frontier between China and North Korea, 1945- 1976

Spring 2022 Grant Recipient

Graduate Student

Hao Chen (History)

This project studies the domestic and international roots of the ethnopolitical transformation in Yanbian, the Korean autonomous region along the Chinese-North Korean border, as a unique case of China’s modern territoriality change and state building in its frontiers. How did Yanbian transform from a contested frontier to an “autonomous region” of China? The project answers the question by historicizing the interactions between Beijing, Yanbian Koreans, and Pyongyang and illustrates the rise and fall of ethnic tensions within a multiethnic state by studying a “third Korea” wrought by multilateral contests and a “reimagined community” at the borderland.