Graduate Students

Shannon Bae


Shannon Doona Bae just recently returned to the U.S. after spending the past ten years in Seoul, South Korea, where she worked in solidarity with adoptee, unwed mother, and birth family groups, studied Korean at Sogang University, and completed her M.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology at Hanyang University, as a recipient of the Korean Government Scholarship Program. She has presented her research at conferences such as ASAK, TISKAS, and CUHK's APGSF, and has been invited as a guest lecturer at workshops for a variety of organizations, such as the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, Seoul International Women's Film Festival's Migrant Women's Film Academy, The People's House Human Rights Human Library, and the Diasporic Korean Youth Forum, among others. She is honored to have received the Center for Critical Korean Studies Fellowship in order to begin her Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology at UC Irvine this fall.

Vanessa Catherine Baker


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.

Elizabeth Hanna Clark


Elizabeth is a third-year PhD student in the anthropology department. She received her B.S. and MA from Georgetown University and spent several years as a community organizer for the Washington D.C.-area immigrant rights organization CASA de Maryland. Her research focuses on how Korean American immigrant rights organizers navigate the relationship between undocumented immigration status and hegemonic racialization. She also investigates the link between Korean American struggle to assert belonging in the context of U.S. immigration policy and anti-U.S. imperialism organizing in the U.S. and in South Korea. With the generous support of the Center for Critical Korean Studies, she was able to study this summer in Seoul at Ewha Woman’s University.

Jessica Kim Conte


Jessica Kim Conte received her BA in Comparative History of Ideas at the University of Washington and is currently a PhD Candidate in East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Irvine, where she is completing her dissertation on contemporary Korean literature and film. Her research focuses on the intersections of gender, race, and labor in horror and the grotesque. Her essay, "Framing South Korea and Vietnam's Past and Present in Muoi: The Legend of a Portrait" was published in [Korean Screen Cultures]. An avid contemporary labor scholar, teacher, and activist, she has served on the contract bargaining team for the UC Student-Workers' Union and organized within numerous grassroots organizations around racial justice, immigrant rights, and prison abolition.

Zach Gottesman


Zachary Gottesman received his B.A. degree in International Studies from American University, his M.A. in Korean Studies from Korean University and is currently a PhD student in East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Irvine where he is the recipient of the Center for Critical Korean Studies graduate fellowship. He researches contemporary Korean popular culture, including cinema, animation, art, music, games, and internet communities. He has published in the Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema and has presented research at the Association for Asian Studies conference, the World Congress of Korean Studies, the Next Generation of Korean Studies Conference, and the Mechademia Conference on Asian Popular Cultures among others. He is currently working on a project on Korean hyperrealism in sculpture as well as a history of rotoscoping in animation.

Kristina Horn

Su Yeon Jang

Hannah June Kim

Hannah June Kim is a PhD candidate in the Political Science department at the University of California, Irvine. She received her B.A. in International Studies from UCLA and her M.A. in International Studies from Korea University. Her research focuses on public opinion, political behavior, and cultural democratization. She is currently working on a project examining the candlelight protests in Korea. Her research has been published in PS: Political Science & Politics, Asian Journal of Comparative Politics, and Japanese Journal of Political Science.

Sue Heun Kim


The primary focus of Sue’s research is to investigate narrative trends within contemporary Korean films to delay or perpetually extend the end. By considering certain Korean films’ penchant to dissatisfy through the depiction of a premature death, an ambiguous death or an outright denial, she aims to analyze the films in relation to their themes of morality and subsequent departure from reason and self-sovereignty. She hopes to utilize Korean modern history, narrative theory, affect theory, and ethics to anchor her research. She holds M.A. from Rutgers Universith and B.A. from Cornell University. 

Hea Sue Kim

Chungjae Lee


Chungjae Lee received his B.A. degree in Political Science from Waseda University and his M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. He has been the recipient of many awards and fellowships, such as JASSO Honors Scholarship (Tokyo, Japan). His research interests are Comparative Political Theory, Critical Theory, Comparative Study of Constitutionalization, and Popular Sovereignty. Including his latest publication on comfort women, he has presented his works at the Princeton Graduate Conference in Political Theory, the Association for Political Theory, the Western Political Science Association, and the Graduate School of International Culture and Communication Studies, Waseda University. He is currently working on a project which develops a conceptual history of popular sovereignty in Korea and Japan during WW2.

Wondong Lee


Wondong Lee graduated from Handong Global University majoring in U.S.& International Law/International Relations. He is now a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, sponsored by the U.S. Fulbright Scholarship Program. Wondong’s primary academic interests lie in how religious discourses shape the way Christian Right in South Korea and the U.S. interpret the world and act upon it. He’s attempting to critically look into the intersection of transnational religious activism, conservative human rights norms, and political ethics as related to the Christian Rights’ engagement in social change.

Tian Li


Tian Li received her B.A. degrees from both Korea National University of Arts in Broadcasting and Communication University of China in Literature. She attended UC Irvine for her Ph.D. degree in East Asian Languages and Literatures. She is the recipient of a number of academic fellowship and awards, including AMA (Art Major Asian) Fellowship awarded by the Korean Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Humanities Commons Research Fellowship, Center for Asian Studies Graduate Research Grant, and Center for Critical Korean Studies Summer Language Award. She has also been involved in the translation of works, such as academic volume China Learns from the Soviet Union, 1949–Present (Bernstein, Thomas P., and Li, Hua-yu editors.) and Korean writer Park Min-Gyu's novel A Journal from the Alpha-Omega Kosiwon. Her current research 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 post-socialist context.

Forest Muther

Anat Schwartz-Meron


Anat’s current research examines contemporary South Korean women’s narrative, identities, and community-making. In particular, she is interested in the construction of feminist communities and identities through online spaces. Her specialized areas of interest are digital media, modern history and literature, and gender studies.

Eun Young Seong

Eun Young Seong is a PhD candidate in East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Irvine. Eun Young received her B.A. degree in Japanese Language and Literature from Korea University and M.A. degree in Area Studies from the University of Tokyo. During her graduate studies in Japan, she was a recipient of the Japanese Government Scholarship. She is currently working on her dissertation about historical construction and cultural representations of ethnicity, with an emphasis on Korean immigrants in the twentieth century.

Jean Shon

Alexander Wolff


Alexander Wolff is a second year graduate student in the Anthropology department. He received his Bachelor's degree in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Research Interests: issues of political participation, governance, citizenship, gender, and sexuality in South Korea.

Alexandra Strudwick Yan

Chaeyoon Yoo

Chaeyoon Yoo is a PhD student in the department of Informatics at UCI. Her research interests include science and technology studies, postcolonialism, urban studies, HCI, and design with an area studies focus on the Asia-Pacific region.