Korea in the World, the World in Korean Studies

Back Row: Abidin Kusno (YCAR Director), Ahrong Lee (DLLL), Laam Hae (Politics), Ann Kim (Sociology), Hyun Ok Park (Sociology). Front Row: Theresa Hyun (Humanities), Mihyon Jeon (DLLL), Hong Kal (Visual arts and Art History). Missing: Thomas Klassen (Politics)

The project team is developing the transnational and global studies of Korea and Korean diaspora as the platforms for exploring key theoretical and methodological issues in humanities and social sciences through the collaboration with other area studies. The five-year project (201823) includes scholars at York University as well as six other Canadian universities and two American institutions. Partners in the Korean-Canadian community in Toronto will also participate in the project. Hyun Ok Park (Sociology) heads the project, with Mihyon Jeon (Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics) as deputy director. Click here to read a Yfile article introducing the project.

The project is funded by the Academy of Korean Studies.

For more information, contact the Project Coordinator, Minyoung Kye.


Project Events

Nov 13 | Mingle to Communicate and Mingle to Become Friends (같이 놀아야 소통하고 같이 놀아야 친구가 되죠) with Mahbub Lee

Nov 15 | Community at Large: Contemporary Korean Art Talking about Communities with Jieun Rhee (Myongji University)

Nov 28 | Big Trees Grow Slow:  Reflections on Life, Art & More Unsolicited Advice with Jean YOON


Project Core Team Members

Laam Hae, Associate Professor, Department of Politics, York University
Laam researches urban politics, feminist political economy and gentrification in the context of South Korea. She has published works on privatization and gentrification of urban spaces in Seoul, and the intermediating roles of critical urbanists in the mobilization of place marketing strategies in Korea. Her current research includes a project on greenbelt deregulation in the Seoul Metropolitan Region in relation to the Construction State institutional assemblage, and another on the decolonization of Korean urban studies from the perspective of “Asia as Method.” Both research projects were funded by Social Science Korea (SSK), in which she participated as a collaborator. Dr Hae authored The Gentrification of Nightlife and the Right to the City: Regulating Spaces of Social Dancing in New York City (Routledge, 2012).

Theresa Hyun, Professor, Department of Humanities, York University
Theresa held a tenured faculty position for 10 years with the College of Foreign Languages of Kyunghee University. She came to York University in the early 1990s where she taught the first courses on Korean culture and literature and was instrumental in establishing Korean studies. Her undergraduate and graduate teaching covers a variety of topics and she approaches Korean studies from historical and feminist perspectives. Her scholarly publications examine Korean culture and literature from the point of view of Translation and Comparative studies. Her current research involves an exploration of literary translation in North Korea focusing on the agency and the role of individual translators in the establishment of the socialist society. Since 2005 she has been a member of Nambuk Munhak Yesul Yongu Hoe, Seoul. She won the 2003 Siwa Sihak award for new poets and has published two volumes of bilingual (Korean/English) original poetry: P’anmunjom esoe Ch’a Hanchan (Siwa Sihak, 2012) and P’yonghwa rul Hyanghae Ch’olma nun Tallinda (Siwa Sihak, 2016). She is the author of Writing Women in Korea: Translation and Feminism in the Colonial Period (University of Hawaii Press, 2004) and co-editor of Translation and Modernization (University of Tokyo Press, 1995).

Mihyon Jeon, Associate Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, York University
Mihyon joined York University in 2005 after receiving her PhD in Education Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania. She has developed the Korean section within DLLL by designing and offering a variety of courses including advance-level Korean language, Korean Popular Culture, Korean Cinema, Korean Linguistics, etc. With Ahrong Lee, she received grants from York University (Teaching-Learning Development Grant) and the Ontario government (Ontario Online Initiative Fund) for developing online and blended courses. Her research interests include Korean language education as a heritage language in North America and English as second language education in Asia. She focuses on language ideologies and maintenance issues among Korean immigrants in North America as well as native-speaking English teachers’ transnational experiences and identities who teach English in Asia. She is also interested in investigating technologically enhanced education and the role of popular culture in education. Her journal articles have been published in Journal of Sociolinguistics, Modern Language Journal, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Heritage Language Journal, Language Culture and Curriculum, Language Awareness, and Korean Language in America.

Hong Kal, Associate Professor, Department of Visual Art and Art History, York University
Hong has written about expositions and museums in relation to the formation of Korean national identity. Her current research focuses on artistic intervention in urban redevelopment, community-based art, and visual images of social crisis in South Korea. Her research has been supported by a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Stanford University (2003-2005), an Advanced Research Grant from The Korea Foundation (2007-2008) and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant (2010-2013). She is the author of Aesthetic Constructions of Korean Nationalism: Spectacle, Politics and History (Routledge, 2011) and her articles have been published in journals including Comparative Studies in Society and History, Inter Asia Cultural Studies, and The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.

Ann H. Kim, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, York University
Ann’s research focuses on migration, and immigrant and ethnic integration processes. She has an active research agenda on Korean immigrants and diaspora in Canada, having examined ethnic entrepreneurship, the economic security of immigrant seniors, transnational (kirogi) families, new immigrant destinations in Canada, and issues around race and pan-ethnicity. She is co-editor of a collective volume entitled, Korean Immigrants in Canada: Perspectives on Migration, Integration, and the Family (University of Toronto Press, 2012). More recent studies examine the experiences of those with temporary resident status, particularly Korean education migrants and North Korean refugees. Having grown up in Toronto, Kim has strong community ties and often consults and collaborates with local Korean NGOs.

Thomas Klassen, Professor, Department of Politics and the School of Public Policy and Administration, York University
Thomas spent 2006-2007 as Visiting Professor at the Department of Public Administration at Yonsei University, the summer of 2011 as Visiting Research Fellow at the Korea Labor Institute, and 2014-2016 as Visiting Professor at the Department of Public Administration at Yonsei University. He has published widely on South Korea, especially on topics related to income security and retirement. He is co-editor, among other books, of Retirement in Japan and South Korea: The Past, the Present and the Future of Mandatory Retirement (Routledge, 2015); Korea’s Retirement Predicament: The Ageing Tiger (Routledge, 2014); and Retirement, Work and Pensions in Ageing Korea (Routledge, 2010). He has also published articles, book chapters and edited books that place Korea in comparative context. His research on Korea has been supported by competitive grants from the Academy of Korean Studies, The Korea Foundation, and the Japanese Ministry of Education. He teaches AP/POLS 3580 6.0: South Korea: The Politics of Compressed Modernity, a summer ‘study abroad’ course in which students from York University travel to Seoul for a month to study with Yonsei University students.

Ahrong Lee, PhD, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Ahrong’s research areas of interest include Korean linguistics, Korean language education, foreign language pedagogy, curriculum development, and integration of technology in foreign language education. She has published and presented papers on the sound structures of Korean and English and language acquisition/pedagogy since 2004. She is currently Course Director in the Korean program at York University, teaching Korean linguistics, sociolinguistics, contemporary culture, and language courses as well as a certificate course for training Korean language teachers at the Ontario Institute at the University of Toronto. She has adapted a wide range of courses into an online format. She has been involved in a variety of community activities with the Korean Education Centre at the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Toronto, including serving as a chair of the working group for curricular development of K-12 education in Canada with Korean language instructors from the Toronto District School Board.

Hyun Ok Park, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, York University
Hyun Ok joined York University in 2007 after receiving her PhD in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley and teaching at New York University. Her research interests concern broad questions on the dynamics of global capitalism in colonial, industrial, and financial forms, in the shape of two entwined inquiries. The first strand investigates the constitutive effect of global capitalism on political transformation, including nationalism, democracy and socialism. The second inquiry focuses on the experience of such social, economic and political transformation by labourers, ethnic and diasporic minorities, and refugees in order to explain their participation in processes of socioeconomic and political transformation. She is the author of Two Dreams in One Bed: Empire, Social Life, and the Origins of the North Korean Revolution in Manchuria (Duke University Press, 2005). Her latest book is The Capitalist Unconscious: From Korean Unification to Transnational Korea (Columbia University Press, 2015; paperback in 2018; and the Korean translation forthcoming from Chŏnnyŏn ŭi sangsang). The Capitalist Unconscious received honourable mention for the 2017 James Palais Book Award of the Association for Asian Studies. She is also widely published in the areas of empire, nationalism, postcolonialism, transnational migration and diaspora, democracy, and comparative methods. She received the John O’Neil Award for Teaching Excellence in the Department of Sociology at York University. Her research and writing have been supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grant, the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, the Academy of Korean Studies and through a fellowship from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.