2016-2017: A retrospective

It was a busy year at the Institute for Korean Studies!  We had many visitors, from across the US and across the ocean.  2016 saw the inauguration of IKS as part of the School of Global and International Studies. During this year, we also won a Core University Program grant from the Academy of Korean Studies, which will allow us to promote Korean Studies at Indiana University and across the midwest at our four partner institutions -- Purdue University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Kentucky, and University of Louisville.

Please see a retrospective of the past year below!

Scholar in Residence               

As part of the Core University Program grant from the Academy of Korean Studies, Professor Jae Kyung Lee was the be Scholar-in-Residence for 2017 at the Institute for Korean Studies.

Jae Kyung Lee is Professor Emeritus of Women's Studies at Ewha Womans University. Trained as a sociologist, she has specialized in family issues and gender policies in South Korea. She has researched and published numerous articles, book chapters and authored and edited books.  Her significant works include Modern Korean Family and FeminismThe State and Gender in South Korea (co-author), Feminist Oral History: Deconstructing Institutional Knowledge, and National Development and Gender Politics (co-author).  She has completed a five-year research project titled "Becoming Modern: Women's Oral History, the Politics of National Division and Development in Postcolonial Korea." 

While at Indiana University, Professor Lee conducted research and met with scholars, as well as giving a public lecture at IU on April 7. Professor Lee also visited our partner institutions, giving public lectures at Purdue University, University of Louisville, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Kentucky.

The South Korean Family at the Crossroads: Deconstructing Modern Dichotomies 

Jae Kyung Lee, Professor Emeritus of Women's Studies at Ewha Womans University

Date: Friday, April 7, 12:00PM
Location: GISB 2067 

The socio-demographic changes, both quantitative and qualitative, of the South Korean family in the 21st century have been interpreted as the decline of the modern patriarchal nuclear family. Diversification of household composition, changes in norms and practices regarding marriage and partnership, a decline in the fertility rate, emergence of international marriage and transnational families, and increased insecurity in the gender division of labor challenge the conventional notion of the modern Korean family. In this paper, I argue for a family flexibility approach to move beyond the modern dichotomies, such as normal family vs. broken (abnormal) family; heterosexuality vs. homosexuality; private vs. public; family vs. work; and family vs. market, in order to understand 21st century South Korean family norms regarding marriage and family.


Korean Night!

This year's Korean Night was held on Saturday, March 25. As part of the program, John Lie (University of California, Berkeley) delivered a lecture on K-pop entitled "K‑Pop: Popular Music, Cultural Amnesia, and Economic Innovation". 

Korean Night is sponsored by the East Asian Studies Center and the Institute for Korean Studies.


Film Series: “South Korean Millennials: Coming of Age in the Twenty-first Century”, 

Sponsored by the Institute for Korean Studies, made possible with funding from the Academy of Korean Studies, and co-sponsored by the East Asian Studies Center and the Department for East Asian Languages and Cultures.

Despite the "economic miracle" of South Korea’s growth in the late twentieth century, millennials describe life there as "Hell-Joseon." High school and college are hyper-competitive, and there is a severe shortage of well-paying jobs. Economic inequality is increasing, and immigrants fill many low-wage jobs, despite being somewhat unwelcome in a country that has valued ethnic homogeneity. Financial hardships have led many millennials to give up dating, marriage and starting a family.  Against this background, these three movies approach the general issues of growing up in twenty-first century Korea with humor and optimism.

In conjunction with the film series, Hyunjoon Park delivered a public lecture discussing the socioeconomic context of the films. This lecture is open to the public and a light lunch will be provided.  Hyunjoon Park is Korea Foundation Associate Professor of Sociology and Education at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interest includes educational stratification and family in cross-national comparative perspective, focusing on South Korea and other East Asian societies. Besides numerous articles and book chapters, he is the author of Re-Evaluating Education in Japan and Korea: De-mystifying Stereotypes (2013 Routledge) and co-editor of Korean Education in Changing Economic and Demographic Contexts (2014 Springer).

The video of his talk is available here.



Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton: Into the New World: Korean Women's Writing in the New Millennium


Thursday, October 6

Co-sponsored by the Institute for Korean Studies, the East Asian Studies Center and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures


Dr. Arissa Oh: The Cold War Origins of International Adoption

Thursday, October 6, 4 PM

Location: Persimmon Room, IMU

Cosponsors: Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in the Society, Institute for Korean Studies, US History Workshop


Distinguished Diplomat Speaker Series: Justice Michael A. Kirby

Michael Kirby led the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea from 2013-2014.  A distinguished jurist in Australia, he was a justice on the High Court, the country’s supreme court, for 13 years.

Thursday, September 22, 4-6 PM

Location: Global & International Studies Building, Room 0001 (Auditorium)

Sponsor: IU Office of the President, School of Global & International Studies


Institute for Korean Studies Opening Ceremony

September 9, 2016


Peace Corps Volunteers and the Making of Korean Studies 

September 9, 2016


Colloquium: Dr. Randall Jones on Policy in Japan and Korea

September 7, 2016


Korean Family in Comparative Perspective

Global Lab Project Final Workshop

April 15, 2016


Korean Night sponsored by the East Asian Studies Center

October 3, 2015


Image Credit: Global Panorama/ CCBY

Questions? Email iks@indiana.edu.