2016-17 marks the inaugural year of the Center for Critical Korean Studies (CCKS). The Center brings together ten faculty members (including myself) who participate in teaching or studying on the subject of Korea at UCI: Prof. Chungmoo Choi (EALL), David Fedman (History), Laura Kang (Gender & Sexuality Studies), Jerry Lee (English), Jim Lee (Asian American Studies), Serk-Bae Suh (EALL) from the School of Humanities, Prof. Sylvia Nam and Eleana Kim (Anthropology) from the School of Social Sciences, and Prof. Jae Hong Kim (Planning, Policy, and Design) from the School of Social Ecology. The CCKS provides scholarships to faculty and graduate students in order for them to conduct research on Korea through publication subsidies and fellowships, offers opportunities to grow Korean majors and minors at UCI through fellowships to undergraduate students and visiting scholar appointments who can help expand the Korean studies curriculum, and also publicly engages both the academic and Korean communities in and around Orange County. Orange County boasts one of the largest, youngest, and still growing Korean American communities in the United States, and the CCKS is proud to represent it. In every facet of the goals we pursue, we are planning to underscore the importance of critical understanding of both Korean studies and Korea’s place in the world. During the 2016-17 academic year, we are planning to host many academic and community-building events. These include hosting and co-sponsoring public talks by innovative scholars in both Korean and Korean diaspora studies, collaborating with other cultural and educational organizations such as the Newport Beach Film Festival to bring exhibits, screenings, and seminars, and hosting colloquiums and workshops that benefit both undergraduate and graduate study at UC Irvine. We thank the Academy of Korean Studies for the generous gift to fund the Center, UCI’s Chancellor Howard Gillman and his team at the Office of Global Engagement (Assistant Vice Chancellor Victoria Jones and Director Hye-Won Shin) for their leadership, School of Humanities Dean Georges Van Den Abbeele and School of Social Sciences Dean Bill Maurer for their support of the concept and the infrastructure of the CCKS, and lastly the Humanities Commons Director Julia Lupton and Associate Director Amanda Swain for their dedication (working literally at home and on the road) to make the dream of the Korea Center at UCI possible.
Kyung Hyun Kim
Professor of East Asian Languages & Literature
Faculty Director of CCKS