Sunyoung Park

Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Gender Studies

Contact Information
E-mail: sunyoung.park@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-8256
Office: THH 378


Biographical Sketch

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 forthcoming book, The Proletarian Wave: Literature and Leftist Culture in Colonial Korea 1910-1945 (December 2014), 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 Korea 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. Aside from this project, 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 cultural history of 1980s Korea from a postnationalist perspective.


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. 


  • B.A. Korean Language and Literature, Seoul National University, 2/1995
  • M.A. English Literature, SUNY at Buffalo, 9/1998
  • Ph.D. English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, 10/2006

  • Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

    Tenure Track Appointments
    • Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Southern California, 08/2008-  
    • Associate Professor , University of Southern California, 2013-2014   

    Visiting and Temporary Appointments
    • Visiting Lecturer in Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, 2004-2005   

    PostDoctoral Appointments
    • Postdoctoral Fellow in Korean Stuides, Washington University in St. Louis, 08/2006-05/2008  

    Description of Research

    Research Specialties
    Intellectual and cultural history of modern Korea and Japan; contemporary Korean literature and film; Marxism; postcolonial studies; transnational feminism


    • Park, S. (2014). The Proletarian Wave: Literature and Leftist Culture in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945. Forthcoming, Harvard University Asia Center.
    • Park, S. (2010). trans and ed. On the the Eve of the Uprising and Other Stories from Colonial Korea. Cornell East Asian Series.

    Book Review
    • Park, S. (2013). Book Review of Kang Kyongae's From Wonso Pond. Journal of Korean Studies. pp. 158-160.

    Encyclopedia Article
    • Park, S. (2011). The Korean Novel. (Peter Logan eds., Ed.). 460-466. Blacwell Encyclopedia of the Novel.

    Essay Translation
    • Cheon, J., Chung, B., Park, S. (2014). The Development of Mass Intellectuality: Reading Circles and Socialist Culture in 1920s Korea. Australia. East Asian History.

    Journal Article
    • Park, S. (2014). "Archive Odyssey: On the State of Korean Literature Studies in North America" (Ak’aibu odisei: haeoe han’guk munhak yon’gu hyonhwang e kwanhan ilgo). Kundae soji (Modern Korean bibliographical studies). Vol. 9, pp. 557-568.
    • Park, S. (2013). "Rethinking Feminism in Colonial Korea: Kang Kyongae and 1930s Leftist Women’s Literature". Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique. Vol. 21 (4), pp. 947-985.
    • Park, S. (2013). "On the Discursive Construction of Korean Literature in the English-Speaking World" (Segye munhak urosoui han'guk munhak--tamnon saengsan ul wihayo). Chigujok segye munhak (Global world literature). Vol. 2, pp. 382-387.
    • Park, S. (2011). "A Forgotten Aesthetic: Reportage in Colonial Korea 1920s-1930s". Comparative Korean Studies. Vol. 19 (2), pp. 35-69.
    • Park, S. "Everyday Life as Critique in Late Colonial Korea: Kim Namch’on’s Literary Experiments, 1934–1943." Journal of Asian Studies Vol. 68, no. 3. (2009): 861–893.
    • Park, S. (2006). "The Colonial Origin of Korean Realism and Its Contemporary Manifestation". Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique. Vol. 14 (1), pp. 165–192.

    Magazine/Trade Publication
    • Park, S. Cultural Activism of Migrant Workers in Korea. Asia Pacific Arts. PubMed Web Address

    • Park, S. (2014). "On the Formation of the 'Archive' of Korean Literature in the United States". Kyosu sinmun. PubMed Web Address

    New Courses Developed

    • Gender and Sexuality in Korean Literature and Culture, EALC 430, an examination of the changing representations of gender and sexuality in Korean cultural texts over the course of the 20th century. Formerly EALC 429 Gender in Korean Literature and Film, this course is cross-listed in the Gender Studies Program, 2013-2014   
    • Critical Issues in Asian Culture: Marxism and Culture in East Asia, EALC 480, a cultural and intellectual history of Marxism in twentieth-century East Asia, 2010-2011   
    • East Asia in Cross-Cultural Theories, EALC 507, an exploration of major theoretical paradigms particularly relevant to the study of East Asian cultures, 2010-2011   
    • Korean Literature and Culture, EALC 344g, Korean literature and culture from the ancient to the modern era from a globally comparative perspective, 2010-2011   
    • Modernity and Cultural Representation in Korea, EALC 534, an in-depth examination of Korean cultural history, including emerging trends and new methodologies within modern Korean literary and cultural studies (formerly offered as EALC 532 Proseminar: Korean Cultural History), 2010-2011   
    • Korean Literature and Thought, ARLT 100g, an introduction to modern Korean literature with discussion of critical approaches to literary discourse and narrative analysis, 2008-2009   
    • Modern Korean Literature in Translation, EALC 322, its current theme is fantastic imaginations in Korean literature and film, 2008-2009   

  • Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway, Taper Hall 356
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-0357

  • All photos taken by Elissa L., Yulee Kim and Ka Wong