Graduate Students

Vanessa Baker

BakerPh.D. Candidate

Vanessa’s research centers around the political and literary publications that circulated in Japan and Korea in the first half of the twentieth century.  In particular she is interested in the construction of national identity, the definition of the new woman, the alliances formed between Japanese and Koreans in literary and political endeavors, and the role of literature and visual art to engender social revolution.

Monica Cho


Monica's research interest lies in the study of post-colonial South Korean literature by female writers, especially by writers of wŏllam background. She is particularly interested in exploring how gender, identity, and nationalism is constructed through memories of violence, trauma and Diaspora. She is also interested in how the state sponsored construct of gender and femininity, often found in propaganda language and media (i.e. Taehan Nyusŭ), has influenced literature and popular culture. In addition, she is interested in the (in)translatability of culture, experience, and memory through text.

Jessica Conte

ContePh.D. Candidate

Jessica is currently completing her dissertation, [Monstrous Circulations], which focuses on representations of gendered and racialized labor in South Korean contemporary literature and film.
Particular to this research are representations in genres that deploy the horrific, grotesque, and anti-human. Her broader interests include labor, gender, race, post- and anti- humanism, transnational cinema and co-productions, neoliberalism, and anarchism. Her most recent essay, "Framing South Korea and Vietnam's Past and Present in Muoi: Legend of a Portrait," may be found in [Korean Screen Cultures], edited by Andrew David Jackson and Colette Balmain and published by Peter Lang.

Zachary Gottesman


Zach Gottesman is interested in Korean popular culture, new media forms, and transnational culture flows in Japan and South Korea. He studies online and offline communities in order to understand how today's participatory media reflects contemporary South Korea and the larger world system.

Sue Heun Kim

KimPh.D. Candidate

Sue's primary interests lie in an art historical and socio-economical analysis of contemporary Korean cinema.
She is interested in investigating the visualization of the dilemma of time and what these representations may portray about Korea's counterintuitive preoccupation with the past/collective memory (nostalgia) and its relationship to morality. Sue hopes to anchor her research with critical theories of temporal anxiety, transitional identity, and cultural/political space.

Henry Lem

LemPh.D. Candidate

Henry specializes in traditional Chinese fiction. He is interested in the complex relationship between author, text, commentator, and reader in novels of the Ming and Qing periods. In his future research project, Henry plans to investigate novel sequels as works of both innovation and intervention, engaged in radical dialogues with earlier traditions of fiction narrative.

Tian Li

LiPh.D. Candidate

Tian's current research mainly focuses on if and how East Asian popular culture can address healing or moving forward from historical conflicts, traumatic memories, and contemporary cultural tensions in East Asia. In particular, her project deals with the paradoxes of nationalism/ transnationalism, translatability/untranslatability, and the potentiality of reconciliation/ disunion through examining the co-consumption of Korean popular culture and Sino-Korean media coproduction in the Chinese postsocialist context.

Kiki Ssu-Fang Liu

LiuPh.D. Candidate

Her research interests include Chinese literature and visual culture, insular and continental epistemology, body and landscape studies, and trans-Asian queer and feminism. Her dissertation parses literary and visual travelogues produced in Taiwan, particularly selecting three types of travel— around-the-island journeys of Taiwan, trips for brotherhood building in Tibet, and intellectual and sexual pilgrimages to Europe and the U.S.—to contour political and ethnic structures of feeling that are embedded within these itineraries. This study shifts the academic focus on the continental dominations to a new marine and insular relationship that re-orients the geographic recognition of Taiwan. In addition, her first collection of creative writing was published in 2015.

Xu Ma

MaPh.D. Candidate

Xu's current research focuses on gender and body in late imperial Chinese fiction, drama, and popular culture. She is particularly interested in exploring how the marital institution in Ming-Qing period functions as a crucial site where gender relationship and conjugal emotions are conceived, constructed, and contested.

Sara Newsome


Sara is interested in modern Japanese literature, particularly the biographical novels of Setouchi Jakucho on the new women of Japan in the early twentieth century. She is also interested in Japanese Buddhism, shamanism, and new religions.

Adam Reynolds


Adam's main interest is contemporary Japanese literature and film, especially within the context of Japan’s postcolonial relations. He is currently exploring narratives dealing with the disruption of Okinawan culture and society by Japanese and American forces. Adam is also interested in humor theory, the connection between aesthetics and politics, Kyōgen plays, anime, and other popular Japanese art forms.

Anat Schwartz

SchwartzPh.D. Candidate

Anat’s current research examines contemporary South Korean women’s narratives in the contexts of binary gender identities, militarism, and nationalism. In particular, the significance of gender in the construction of modern South Korean militarized citizenship. Her specialized areas of interest are digital media, modern history and literature, and gender studies.

Eun Young Seong

SeongPh.D. Candidate

Eun Young is currently working on her dissertation about historical constructions and cultural representations of ethnicity, with an emphasis on Korean people moving across borders since the 1920s. Her research explores how ethnic culture is being created and reimagined through transnational interactions among people who repeatedly travel and settle in different countries beyond their homeland. Her dissertation consists of three case studies that analyze modern reinterpretation of classical Korean literature by Korean and Japanese intellectuals during the early twentieth century, cultural representations of traveling Korean dancers in Japan, Germany and the United States, and cultural interactions between North and South Korean immigrants living in Japan in the 1960s.