Chris Deacon

Chris Deacon

PhD candidate

Department of International Relations

Connect with me

English, Japanese
Key Expertise
Japan, Korea, East Asian Politics, IR Theory, Identity Politics, Memory

About me

I am an ESRC-funded PhD candidate at the LSE’s Department of International Relations. My academic interests lie at the intersection of identity, memory and discourse in world politics. I am interested in the construction and contestation of identities through discursive practices – especially representations of the past – and the relationship between these identities and foreign policy and transnational interactions. This combines with my regional expertise in East Asia – especially Japan and the Koreas – to result in my current particular interest in Japan and South Korea’s ‘history problem’. In addition to my PhD thesis research, my work in this area has been published in European Journal of International Relations and The Pacific Review.

Before my PhD, I gained a BA in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (Japanese Studies) from the University of Cambridge, an MA in Korean Studies and East Asian Politics from SOAS University of London, and an MSc in International Relations (Research) from LSE. Between my undergraduate and postgraduate study, I also trained as a solicitor and worked as an international competition lawyer at the London law firm Slaughter and May, as well as spending time on secondment at Anderson Mori & Tomotsune in Tokyo.

To find out more, you can visit my personal website.

Research topic

Unending past? Identity, memory and the ‘history problem’ in Japan-South Korea relations

Using poststructuralist theory and discourse analytical methods, my PhD research provides a novel account of the so-called ‘history problem’ in Japan-South Korea relations, by examining it as a site of the discursive construction of relational identities through representations of the past. I do this by analysing a vast range of original language texts, both official and popular, relating to three core issues within the ‘history problem’, so as to establish and deconstruct dominant and alternative identity discourses in each of Japan and South Korea vis-à-vis the other. In doing so, I theorise the production and reproduction of the broader ‘history problem’ in this relationship, as well as the possibility of its transformation.

Teaching experience

Academic supervisor

Professor William A Callahan

Research Cluster affiliation

Theory/Area/History Research Cluster

Security and Statecraft Research Cluster



Expertise Details

Japan; South Korea; North Korea; East Asia; constructivism; poststructuralism; identity; memory; ontological security; foreign policy; discourse analysis

My research