Monica Cho smiling with a stone wall background wearing a dark blue shirt
Ph.D. Candidate

Monica's research interests are feminist ecocriticism, ethics, and biopolitics in modern and contemporary Korean literature. Her dissertation project focuses on the representation of madness in post-Korean War literature. Please visit for a complete bio and CV.

Zachary Gottesman

Ph.D. Candidate

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.

Soojin Jeong

Ph.D. Student

Soojin's research interests are communication studies, Asian-American studies, literary studies and gender studies in Korea and Japan.

Adam Miller

Ph.D. Candidate

Adam's research centers on gender and sexuality in contemporary Korean literature and film. He is particularly interested in exploring constructions and representations of masculinity in the post-democratization period through the present day. His research interests also include speculative fiction, poetry, and critical theory.

Sara Newsome

Ph.D. Candidate

Sara is interested in the intersection of environmental and feminist activism with religion in modern Japanese literature, particularly the works of Setouchi Jakuchō and Ishimure Michiko.

Adam Reynolds

Ph.D. Candidate

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.


Sophie Wheeler

Ph.D. Student

Sophie's research interests are travel photography, ethnography, food studies, environmental politics, and multimedia storytelling.

Yee-Kwan (Vanessa) Wong

Ph.D. Candidate

Vanessa is interested in the social changes reflected in modern fiction from various Chinese communities, the literary connections and distinctions between Hong Kong and China, and the city’s position in the context of greater China.

Xiaoyang Yue

Ph.D. Student

Xiaoyang's research interests are Japanese literature and cinema and film studies.

Yaqi Wang

Yaqi Wang
Ph.D. Student
Yaqi's research focuses on postwar Japanese cinema and literature. She is interested in film philosophy and theory, modernity in East Asia, and environmental humanities. She received a bachelor's degree in media and cinema studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree in Humanities from The University of Chicago before joining UC Irvine.

Blossom Jeong

Blossom Jeong smiling
Ph.D. Student
Blossom is interested in the politics of in/exclusion and community building in post-colonial repatriation narratives by Korean and Taiwanese writers.

Xiangu Qi

Xiangu Qi smiling on the beach
Ph.D. Student
Xiang Qi, an incoming first year Ph.D. student advised by Professor Bert Scruggs, published different papers respectively in East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, Journal of Film Art, and Journal of Beijing Film Academy. Her research interests include Chinese-language films, Chinese diaspora cinema, film history, and environmental humanities. She is the founder of Voice-Over (画外音), an academic podcast that focuses on film studies and cultural studies. She also launched the Chinese-language Cinema Discussion Club that holds regular online discussions on various films across global Chinese-language communities with scholars from different fields.