Director of the Korea Institute
On leave Spring 2017
After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Seoul in the late 1960s and 1970s, Eckert returned to the U.S. to study Korean and Japanese history at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he received his doctorate in 1986. Since 1985 he has been teaching modern Korean history at Harvard, including a popular undergraduate course called “The Two Koreas,” and working to build up the Harvard Korean studies program. From 1993 to 2004, Eckert served as the director of the Korea Institute, presiding over a major financial and academic expansion. In 2004 he was awarded the title of Yoon Se Young Professor of Korean History. Eckert currently serves as chairman of the faculty’s Committee for Education Abroad and as Acting Director of the Korea Institute. Eckert is the author of a number of books and articles, including Offspring of Empire: The Colonial Origins of Korean Capitalism, which received the John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History from the American Historical Association, as well as the John Whitney Hall Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies. He is also a co-author of Korea Old and New: A History, a widely-used university textbook on Korean history. Among his current projects is a historical study of the rise of Korean militarism, and its impact on South Korean state and society under Park Chung Hee. He is also collaborating with Professor Park Tae Gyun of Seoul National University on a book exploring changes and continuities in post-colonial and post-Korean War contemporary history.
Spring 2014 Courses: