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Suk-Young Kim

Associate Dean, Faculty and Students; Professor

Suk-Young Kim

Suk-Young Kim's research interests cover a wide range of academic disciplines, such as East Asian Performance and Visual Culture, Gender and Nationalism, Korean Cultural Studies, Russian Literature and Slavic Folklore. Her publications have appeared in English, German, Korean, Polish and Russian while her research has been acknowledged by the International Federation for Theatre Research's New Scholar's Prize (2004), the American Society for Theater Research Fellowship (2006), the Library of Congress Kluge Fellowship (2006-7) and the Academy of Korean Studies Research Grant (2008, 2010, 2015-2020), among others. Her first book, Illusive Utopia:Theater, Film, and Everyday Performance in North Korea (University of Michigan Press, 2010), the winner of the 2013 James Palais Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies, explores how state-produced propaganda performances intersect with everyday life practice in North Korea. Her second book, DMZ Crossing: Performing Emotional Citizenship Along the Korean Border (Columbia University Press, 2014), focuses on various types of inter-Korean border crossers who traverse one of the most heavily guarded areas in the world to redefine Korean citizenship as based on emotional affiliations rather than constitutional delineations. In 2015, DMZ Crossing was recognized with the Association for Theater in Higher Education Outstanding Book Award. In collaboration with Kim Yong, she also co-authored Long Road Home (Columbia University Press, 2009), which investigates transnational human rights and the efficacy of oral history through the testimony of a North Korean labor camp survivor.

Sponsored by the 2014-15 ACLS/SSRC/NEH International and Area Studies Fellowship, she recently published K-pop Live: Fans, Idols, and Multimedia Performance (Stanford University Press, 2018). This project traces the rapid rise of Korean popular music (K-pop) in relation to the equally meteoric rise of digital consumerism — a phenomenon mostly championed by the widespread development of high-speed Internet and the distribution of mobile gadgets — and situates their tenacious partnership in the historical context of Korea from the early 1990s to the present day. She is currently working on several book-length projects: Media and Technology in North Korea, Korean Language Theater in Kazakhstan and Russian Theatrical Costumes and the Vestige of Empire.

Kim served on the editorial board of the Routledge Handbook of Sexuality Studies in East Asia and is currently at work as a senior editor for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature. She also sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Korean Studies and serves on the advisory committee for the Hong Kong University Book Series Crossings: Asian Cinema and Media Culture.

Kim previously taught at Dartmouth College and UC Santa Barbara. She received her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Theatre and Drama with a Certificate in Gender Studies from Northwestern University in 2005 and her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2001.


Millennial North Korea: Forbidden Media and Living Creatively with Surveillance
(under contract with Stanford University Press)

Surviving Squid Game: A Guide to K-Drama, Netflix and Global Streaming Wars
(Applause Books, forthcoming, 2023)

The Cambridge Companion to K-Pop, editor
(Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, 2023)

K-pop Live: Fans, Idols, and Multimedia Performance
(Stanford University Press, 2018)

DMZ Crossing: Performing Emotional Citizenship Along the Korean Border
(Columbia University Press, 2014)

Illusive Utopia: Theater, Film, and Everyday Performance in North Korea
(Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010)

Long Road Home: Testimony of a North Korean Camp Survivor
Co-authored with Kim Yong
(Columbia University Press, 2009)

Recent Articles

"Ajumma Fabulosity and the Art of Wearing Vizor with Ferocity," Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature (Fall 2022)

"Black K-Pop: Racial Surplus and the Global Consumption of Korean Pop Music," TDR (Summer 2020)

"Disastrously Creative: K-Pop, Virtual Nation, and the Rebirth of Culture Technology," TDR (Spring 2020)

"Beauty and the Waste: Fashioning Idols and the Ethics of Recycling in Korean Pop Music Videos," Fashion Theory (March 2019)

"Recycled Theatre: Virtuous Lives of the Reclaimed and the Reused," Theatre Survey (September 2016)

"Looking into Asia Beyond Nation States: Pan-Mongolianism and its Specters," Verge: Studies on Global Asias (Spring 2015)

Video Lectures, Interviews and Op-Eds

Op-ed: “Hollywood, take note, Korean pop culture is here to stay” (Los Angeles Times, 2022)

Op-ed: "K-pop stans’ anti-Trump, Black Lives Matter activism" (NBC News, 2020)

Podcast: Vox Media Switched on Pop (2019)

Podcast: K-pop Live with New Books Network (2019)

Interview: KBS America (2022)

Interview: Quartz News Show (2019)

Interview: All Things Considered (NPR, 2016)

Interview: “K-popporazzi” (Radio Lab, 2016)

Lecture: "What is K-pop?" (USC Korean Studies Institute, 2016)

Lecture: "For the Eyes of the Dear Leader: Fashion and Body Politics in North Korean Visual Arts" (Library of Congress, 2007)