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James Person

Adjunct Lecturer


James F. Person is Lecturer of Korea Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His research focuses primarily on state-building in North and South Korea, democratization and democratic consolidation in South Korea, the foreign relations of North and South Korea, and inter-Korean relations. He has published in Cold War History and other journals, and is presently completing a manuscript based on his 2013 dissertation on the evolution of the political and ideological systems in North Korea from 1953 to 1967. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins SAIS, he was the founding Director of the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy at the Wilson Center. Between 2007 and early 2017, he served as the founding Coordinator of the North Korea International Documentation Project, and was Deputy Director of the History and Public Policy Program at the Wilson Center from 2013 to 2017.

He teaches courses on modern Korean history at Johns Hopkins SAIS and has taught at the George Washington University. He has appeared on CBS, CSPAN, National Public Radio, Vice News, KBS, and his interviews have appeared in Newsweek, CNN, USA Today, the LA Times, the Donga Daily, and other news outlets. He has worked as a consultant on historical documentaries. Dr. Person holds a PhD in modern Korean history from the George Washington University, MPhil from Lomonosov Moscow State University, and BA from the George Washington University.



  • North Korea
  • South Korea
  • East Asia


  • North Korean History
  • Nation-building and Democratization
  • Foreign Relations of South and North Korea
  • Nuclear Proliferation in East Asia
  • Authoritarianism
  • Cold War
  • Inter-Korean Relations
  • U.S.-Korean Relations

In the News

Narrating North Korean history through socialist bloc archives.

James Person interviewed for Journal of Korean Studies, 11/05

North Korea in 1956: reconsidering the August Plenum and the Sino-Soviet joint intervention

James Person published an article for Cold War History, 9/18

South Korea stocks could be ready for a rebound.

James Person quoted in Barron’s, 8/2