Focus on Korea

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Korea Foundation

Boston College’s course offerings and expertise about the Korean peninsula will expand significantly this semester with the addition of two scholars who will be teaching courses in Korean history and politics, and language.

Ingu Hwang
Ingu Hwang

Ingu Hwang will serve as the Korea Foundation Visiting Assistant Professor of International Studies through a 5-year, $2-million grant from the foundation, a South Korean government entity that promotes Korean culture internationally, said Asian Studies Program Director Franziska Seraphim.

“We have never had a Koreanist at BC before, so this is a great opportunity for all of us across campus to engage with Korea, past and present, in new ways,” said Seraphim, an associate professor of history whose research focuses modern and contemporary Japan. “We’re all very excited the Korea Foundation support has allowed us to bring Prof. Hwang to BC.”

The upcoming course offerings from the new faculty members will be among the areas featured at the Asian Studies Fall Reception, which takes place at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 5, on the first floor foyer of Stokes Hall South, said Seraphim.

Hwang earned his doctorate from the University of Chicago and joins BC following two-years of post-doctoral research, which will form the basis of a forthcoming book on South Korean politics and human rights in the 1970s, Hwang said.

"I look forward to promoting Korean studies at BC through courses offerings on Korean history and through informal programs that bring students, faculty and the public together to discuss Korea-related issues,” Hwang said.

“These activities, I hope, will foster a better understanding of Korea's past and present role in international politics."

Just a few days after moving to Boston in August, Hwang provided commentary to NBC’s local affiliate NBC Boston, about increasingly hostile rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Seraphim said Asian Studies and International Studies worked jointly on the initiative to expand offerings on a region of the world placed in sharp focus by escalating tensions between North Korea, neighboring countries and the
U.S.

In addition to Hwang, Korean language specialist Seung-He Jeon has joined the Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages. Jeon’s scholarship, particularly her work as a translator, has focused on South Korean history and memory. She is currently a research associate at Harvard’s Korean Institute, examining the effects of war trauma and memories through literary and cultural expressions of the Korean War.

Last year, the University enrolled 180 undergraduate and graduate students from the Republic of South Korea, the second-largest group of international students on campus.


—Ed Hayward | University Communications