University of Southern California

Graduate Students

Young Sun Park

Contact Information



  • B.A. Seoul Nat'l Univ., 02/2007
  • M.A. Univ Notre Dame, 05/2011
  • M.A. History, University of Southern California, 05/2014


Summary Statement of Research Interests

  • My research focus is on the history of childhood and the institutionalization of children in need, particularly Korean orphans and orphanages from 1854 to 1960, including the symbolic meanings they carried in Korean society. Who were chosen and permitted to be at orphanages is a critical issue in demonstrating which families and child-rearing methods were accepted as a norm. As an extension of or replacement for family heads, the magistrates of modern orphanages perceived themselves as parents whose mission was to civilize the deserted children. By analyzing the way of institutionalizing children, particularly orphans, I would like to uncover how orphans and their institutional treatment were conceived and practiced, by both state actors and non-state actors. Any care for orphans presupposes what kind of adults the orphans would and should become in the future. This concern of the children’s future entails persuasion and enculturation, which demonstrates specific historical circumstances and developments of each society. Therefore, the treatment of orphans would reflect upon a society and its values. In this regard, the way a society deals with orphans raises a social and cultural history question. The Korean history of orphanages from the late nineteenth to twentieth century would demonstrate how Korean people have located and projected their values and ideas of good society onto the children under the experiences under the waves of Enlightenment, imperialism, nationalism, and Cold War.

Research Keywords

  • Modern Korean History / Transnational Asian History / Post-colonialism / Child Welfare / Social Policy / Children, State, and Family in East Asia

Research Specialties

  • Children, Family, , Gender, and the State in Korea and East Asia