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Armstrong earned B.A. at Yale University in 1984; and then he continued his studies at Yonsei University in Seoul, earning a diploma in Korean language in 1986. After receiving a M.Sc. at the London School of Economics in 1988, he was awarded a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1994.
Charles Armstrong is a Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences in the Department of History and the Director of The Center for Korean Research. A specialist in the modern history of Korea and East Asia, Professor Armstrong has written or edited numerous books on modern and contemporary Korea, including The Koreas (Routledge, 2007),The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 (Cornell, 2003), Korea at the Center: Dynamics of Regionalism in Northeast Asia (M.E. Sharpe, 2006), Korean Society: Civil Society, Democracy, and the State (Routledge, Second Edition 2006), and Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950 - 1990 (Cornell, forthcoming 2012). He is currently writing a history of modern East Asia for the Wiley-Blackwell series "Concise History of the Modern World." Professor Armstrong is also a frequent commentator in the US and international media on Korean, East Asian, and Asian-American affairs.
He joined the Columbia faculty in 1996 and teaches courses on Korean history, U.S.-East Asian relations, the Vietnam War, and approaches to international and global history. He is a frequent commentator in the U.S. and foreign mass media on contemporary Korean, East Asian, and Asian-American affairs.
He was a Visiting Professor in 2008 at the Graduate School of International Studies at Seoul National University.
Armstrong's published writings encompass 12 works in 35 publications in 2 languages.