Sunyoung ParkAssociate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Gender Studies
Phone: (213) 740-8256
Office: THH 378
The focus of my research is the literary and cultural history of modern Korea, which I approach from the varying perspectives of world literature, postcolonial theory, cultural studies, transnational feminism, and Marxism. I am particularly interested in the dynamic interactions of culture, ideology, and society, and I always strive to place a text in active dialogue with its time and context, both locally and globally. My first monograph, The Proletarian Wave: Literature and Leftist Culture in Colonial Korea 1910-1945 (2015), examines the origins, development, and influence of socialist literature in Korea during the colonial period. I have tried in this volume to reconstruct from a post-Cold War perspective the varicolored mosaic of colonial Korean leftist culture, going beyond established Marxist history to include the important contributions of fellow-traveling groups of anarchists, nationalists, feminists, and more. I am also the editor and translator of an anthology of modern Korean stories, On the Eve of the Uprising and Other Stories from Colonial Korea (2009), as well as the author of various articles on historiographical and literary issues, including the history of Korean realism, the intellectual biography of modern writers, and the origins and nature of reportage within Korean literature.
In current research, I am extending my contextual and interdisciplinary approach to literary history to the study of popular culture and society in contemporary Korea. I am at present working on a book manuscript titled Starship Korea: Science Fictional and Fantastic Imaginations in South Korean Literature, Film, and Visual Culture, 1960s-2010s, whose primary goal is to analyze the evolution of science fiction in Korea against the background of the major political and social shifts of the last fifty years. In addition to offering the first historical account of its subject matter, this project will contribute to global science fiction studies by expanding their horizon beyond currently entrenched Western and Japanese frames of reference. As a companion volume for this book, I am editing Science Fiction from South Korea, a translation anthology that wiill introduce hitherto unknown Korean science fiction stories to the Englihs-speaking world. Aside from these projects, I am also collaborating with a team of scholars in Korea, Australia, and the United States on an anthology of critical essays whose aim is to rediscover the diversity of 1980s Korean culture along with its living relevance. Far from being an anomalous and now faded era of minjung activism that is disjointed from globalization and contemporary life, the book projects, the 1980s was a time whose vibrant political and cultural energy enabled the subsequent flourishing of democratic culture and society in South Korea.
Reflective of my research orientations, my teaching interests include the intellectual and cultural history of modern Korea, contemporary Korean cinema, East Asia in cross-cultural theories, and twentieth-century world literature.