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Sunyoung Park

Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Gender Studies

Contact Information
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 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. 



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

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Tenure Track Appointments

Director of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures , University of Southern California, 2015-  
Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the Gender Studies Program , University of Southern California, 03/2014-  
Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Southern California, 08/2008-03/2014  

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

modern and contemporary Korean literature and film; cultural history of Korean and Japan; science fiction and fantasy; transnational socialism and feminism; postcolonial studies



Park, S. (2015). The Proletarian Wave: Literature and Leftist Culture in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945. Harvard University Asia Center.
Kim, N. (2015). Barley. trans. Sunyoung Park. Seoul: ASIA.
Pak, T. (2015). A Day in the Life of Kubo the Novelist. trans. Sunyoung Park in collaboration with Jefferson Gatrall and Kevin O'Rourke. Seoul: ASIA.
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, Ed.). 460-466. Blackwell 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. East Asian History. (Read it here.)

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. (Click for the article.)
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. (Click for the article.)
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. (Click for the article.)
Park, S. (2006). "The Colonial Origin of Korean Realism and Its Contemporary Manifestation". Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique. Vol. 14 (1), pp. 165–192. (Click for the article.)

Magazine/Trade Publication

Park, S. Cultural Activism of Migrant Workers in Korea. Asia Pacific Arts. (Read it here.)


Park, S. (2014). "On the Formation of the 'Archive' of Korean Literature in the United States". Kyosu sinmun. (Read it here.)

New Courses Developed

Korean Culture from Ancient to Modern Times, EALC 344g, Korean literature and culture from the ancient to the modern era from a globally comparative perspective, 2015-2016   
Modern Korean Literature and Thought, GSEM 120g, an introduction to modern Korean literature with discussion of critical approaches to literary discourse and narrative analysis (formerly offered as ARLT 100g Korean Literature and Thought), 2015-2016   
Feminist Theory: An Introduction, SWMS 301, Gender Studies Program, (Designed my own syllabus for the existing course for GSP majors), 2015-2016   
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   
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   
Modern Korean Literature in Translation, EALC 322, its current theme is fantastic imaginations in Korean literature and film, 2008-2009   

Honors and Awards

Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences, USC Office of the Provost, 2015-2016   
USC Mellon Graduate Mentoring Award, 2015-2016   
Association for Asian Studies First Book Subvention, 2014-2015   
Daesan Foundation Research Grant, 2013-2014   
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