Korean Communication Research and Practice: Looking Back, Looking Forward


During past decades, Korean communication scholars have established a solid international reputation in communication research. Although a substantial body of communication research has appeared in English, subfields of communication studies have tended to develop independently. A conference to be held at Center for Korean Studies July 27-28, 2017, aims to gather and assess the accumulated research in all subfields in order to identify critical gaps in current scholarship and point the way for future research.

Korean Communication Conference

The conference, titled “Korean Communication Research and Practice: Looking Back, Looking Forward,” was organized by Center for Korean Studies faculty member Ji Young Kim of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa School of Communications. The stated goals of the conference are to critically evaluate the existing scholarship on Korean communication in key topic areas; carry on a dialogue about the gaps in the current research literature; and to exchange ideas and perspectives about the future directions of communication research about Korea.

Nearly two dozen communication specialists from universities in Korea, the United States, and Canada will present papers in the broad areas of communication and society; public communication; digital media and community; and culture/visual communication. Specific topics touch on communication law, political communication, journalism, health communication, public relations, advertising, digital games, and cinema, among others.

Kwan M. LeeThe conference will begin on Thursday morning with a keynote speech by Kwan Min Lee, Korea Foundation Professor of Contemporary Korean Society and New Media in the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His speech, “User Experience (UX) Research and Practice in South Korea,” is scheduled to begin at 9:20 a.m.

On Friday afternoon, the conference will wrap up with a panel discussion on the future of Korean communication featuring five of the conference participants: Seungahn Nah and Kyu Ho Youm of the University of Oregon, Hye-Ryeon Lee of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Nojin Kwak of the University of Michigan, and Dal Yong Jin of Simon Fraser University.

Sponsors of the conference include the Center for Korean Studies and the College of Social Sciences of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa; the Nam Center for Korean Studies at the University of Michigan with support from the Core University Program for Korean Studies through the Republic of Korea Ministry of Education and the Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean Studies; the Korean American Communication Association; the Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology at Simon Fraser University; and the School of Journalism and Communication of the University of Oregon.

Attendance at the conference is open to the public without cost. The schedule of conference presentations can be found on line here. Inquiries about the program should be directed to the conference organizer, Prof. Ji Young Kim, at jkim22@hawaii.edu.

Expired: SPAS Graduate Student Conference: Bridging the Gaps

conference posterThe Center for Korean Studies will host the 28th annual School of Pacific and Asian Studies graduate student conference, March 22-24. The theme of the 2017 conference is “Bridging the Gaps: Conceptualizing Asia through an Interdisciplinary Lens.”

In pursuit of the theme, the organizers have assembled a three-day program of panels and paper presentations, performances, and posters, beginning with a keynote speech by Dr. Koichi Iwabuchi of Monash University. Iwabuchi’s speech, “Trans-Asia as Method,” will be delivered Wednesday afternoon, the first day of the conference.

As usual, the conference will include a number of presentations dealing with Korea-related topics. In particular, the Friday afternoon session will include a panel titled “Conceptualizing Korea” and another titled “Examining North Korea.”

The first panel includes three papers: “English Immersion and Shifting Paradigm of South Korean Nationalism” by Seung Yang of UH Mānoa; “Hanboks, Vampires, and Cross-Dressing Women: The Appeal of Korean Historical Dramas among American Viewers” by Brittany Tinaliga of the University of San Francisco; and “Going Backwards to Move Forwards: Popular Memory in Post-Authoritarian Korean War Films” by Keita Moore of UH Mānoa.

The latter panel will consist of “The Making of a Modern Monarchy: The Kim Dynasty” by Autumn Anderson of the University of San Francisco; “Society of Superstition?: Mushrooming Superstition in North Korea after Arduous March” by Hyun Jong Noh of Seoul National University; “‘Under Siege from Imperialists’: Rhetoric in North Korean State Media, 1998-2003” by Robert York of UH Mānoa; and “Literary Autonomy in North Korea: Authority, Agency, and the Art of Control” by Catherine Killough of Georgetown University.

Another Korea-related highlight will be UH Mānoa student Clara Hur ‘s explication of “Seung Mu,” the monk’s dance, during a panel on Thursday afternoon.

The SPAS Graduate Student Conference is admission-free and open to all. This year’s conference was organized by Adam Coldren and Layne Higginbothm, graduate teaching assistants in the School of Pacific and Asian Studies.

The complete conference program can be found here.

Call for Proposals: Fourth AAS-in-Asia Conference

AAS-in-Asia 2017 conferenceThe Association for Asian Studies and the Korea University Research Institute of Korean Studies invite submission of proposals for organized panels and roundtables to be presented at the fourth AAS-in-ASIA conference. The conference will take place June 24-27, 2017, at Korea University in Seoul. No individual paper proposals are being accepted.

The conference program committee is seeking proposals dealing with all regions of Asia on a wide range of subjects under the theme “Asia in Motion: Beyond Borders and Boundaries.” Proposals on this theme may cover diverse topics such as political and economic changes, literary and cultural expression, environmental sustainability, media and pop cultural production, food and energy policy, new models for Asian enterprise and business, and globalization and urban growth.

Proposals are welcome from Asian studies scholars wherever they may be based. They are especially encouraged from scholars representing academic communities that are relatively underrepresented in international meetings. One of the goals of the conference is to foster dialogue and scholarly communication that cross the ordinary (often nation-specific) boundaries of academic networks.

The program committee will give preference to proposals that include participants from two or more countries, whether the panel focuses on a single nation or culture or on some comparative dimension. The committee discourages panel proposals from groups of scholars coming from the same institution. Generally speaking, panels with diverse (gender, academic rank, national origin, disciplinary approach) participation will be favored over narrowly constructed panels. Panels that address topics of broad relevance are also preferred.

The deadline for submitting proposals is October 31, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. EST.

For more information about the conference and for proposal submission guidelines and procedures, visit the Association for Asian Studies Web site.

Conference on North Korean Human Rights and South Korean Aid Programs

North Korean human rights conference imageA one-day conference at the Center for Korean Studies on Thursday, April 14, 2016, will delve into North Korean human rights issues and some South Korean responses. The conference, titled “North Korean Human Rights, South Korea’s Defector Aid Programs, and the Future of the Korean Peninsula,” will take place in the Center’s auditorium from 12:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

As a result of recent security threats and tensions between the two Koreas, North Korea has drawn international attention. As one of the most repressive countries in the world, with more than twenty thousand defectors, North Korea’s human rights crisis has become a focus of the United Nations and many other institutions. This conference is intended to provide a forum for discussion of the challenging conditions in North Korea, South Korea’s programs to accommodate defectors from the North, and the future of the two Koreas.

The conference was organized by two Center for Korean studies faculty members: Prof. Tae­‐Ung Baik of the William S. Richardson School of Law and Prof. Young­‐a Park of the School of Pacific and Asian Studies. Baik and Park will be joined by five other scholars and practitioners: Jae-Hee Cho of the Center for North Korean Migrants and the Daegu Hana Center; Young-Chul Heo of Empathy SEEDS; Joanna Hosaniak of the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights; Jane Kim of the Center for North Korean Migrants and the Daegu Hana Center; and Yeo-sang Yoon of the North Korean Human Rights Archives.

The participants’ presentations will cover topics such as victims’ accounts of North Korean human-rights violations; women’s rights in North Korea; South Korean government policy toward defectors from the North; and programs aimed at social inclusion of North Korean defectors.

The complete conference schedule, with a list of the presentations and information about the speakers, can be found here.

The conference is free and open to the public. For further information, including information regarding access for the handicapped, telephone the Center for Korean Studies at (808) 956-7041.

Support for the conference is furnished by the Core University Program for Korean Studies through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS-2015-OLU-2250005).

SPAS Graduate Student Conference Explores Divergent Conceptions of Asia

Korea-related studies are well represented in the program of the 2016 Graduate Student Conference organized by the University of Hawai’i School of Pacific and Asian Studies. The conference will take place Wednesday, March 16, through Friday, March 18, at the Center for Korean Studies. This year’s conference is directed by Adam Coldren and Mark Ferguson, graduate teaching assistants in SPAS.

The theme of the 2016 conference is “From Uncharted Waters to Familiar Shores: Navigating the Myriad and Divergent Conceptions of Asia.”

Graduate Student Conference speaker Theodore BestorHarvard University Professor Theodore C. Bestor will open the conference Wednesday afternoon with a keynote speech titled “What in the World is Washoku?” Bestor is director of the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard, where he is professor of social anthropology. His current research focuses on Japanese food culture and the globalization of Japanese cuisine. The program begins with opening formalities at 4:30 p.m., including Thai and Korean musical performances, followed by Bestor’s speech on Japanese traditional cuisine, or washoku. For more on Bestor’s background and career, follow this link.

On Thursday and Friday, participants from UH Mānoa and eleven other universities will deliver thirty-five presentations organized into ten panels. Topics of the panels reveal a great variety of interests, including migrants, social movements, literature, public policy, economic trends, art and performance, religion, and regionalism (for the complete program, follow this link).

One panel, Problems on the Peninsula: North & South Korea (1.2), will deal entirely with Korean matters. Scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday in the Center’s conference room, it will feature papers by Robert York of UH Mānoa (“Public Executions and North Korea’s Right of Death”), Hayeun Jeung of Ewha Womans University (“Just Put on the Cyber, Not on the Negotiation Table: The North Korean Coercion via Cyberattack”), and Hyunjoo Yang of Brown University (“The Effect of War on Local Collective Action: Evidence from the Korean War”).

Other Korea-related papers, spread among various panels, include:

  • Seung Yeol Kim, Stanford University: “Implications of Judicial Review on Democracy: Through the Scope of Comparative Study on South Korea and Japan” (panel 3.1, Public Policy & Economic Trends in Asia, Thursday, 3 p.m., Center auditorium).
  • Joanna Kim, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa: “Battling for the Soul of Korea: Missionaries and Monastics, 1876-1905” (panel 3.2, Discussions of the Soul: Religion & Ideology, Thursday, 3 p.m., Center conference room).
  • Craig Asberry III, University of San Francisco: “Osmotic Exchange and Education: Globalization’s Effects on South Korea” (panel 4.1, Shifting Landscapes: Globalization & Regionalism In Asia, Friday, 10 a.m., Center auditorium).
  • Ji Yeon Noh, Ewha Womans University: “Do the Systems Matter?: Women in the Economic Crisis” (panel 4.2, Women & Representation, Friday, 10 a.m., Center conference room).

At the end of the conference, prizes will be awarded for the best papers on Korea, on Japan, and on Southeast Asia.

Funding assistance for the conference was provided by Student Activity and Program Fee Board, UH Mānoa Department of Anthropology, Center for Japanese Studies, Center for Okinawan Studies, Center for Philippine Studies, and Center for Southeast Asian Studies. For further information, contact gradconf@hawaii.edu.