International Studies Program faculty

Ingu Hwang

Assistant Professor of the Practice

Biography

Ingu Hwang is an Assistant Professor of the Practice in the International Studies Program, and a faculty board member of the Asian Studies Program. His research and teaching focus on modern Korean history and politics, Cold War East Asian diplomacy, and the history of human rights/humanitarianism. He teaches interdisciplinary courses that examine Korean and East Asian history from a global perspective. 

Hwang is currently finishing his first book Transnational Democratization: Human Rights in South Korea and US Cold War Policy (under contract with The University of Pennsylvania Press, Human Rights Series). This book, developed from his dissertation, is the first monograph to address the role of South Korean pro-democracy actors in (re)shaping the global history of human rights activism and politics in the 1970s. It shows how local prodemocracy activists pragmatically engaged with global advocacy groups, especially Amnesty International and the World Council of Churches, to maximize their socioeconomic and political struggles against the backdrop of South Korea’s authoritarian industrialization and US hegemony in East Asia. It details how local prodemocracy protesters were able to translate their sufferings and causes into international human rights claims that highlighted how US Cold War geopolitics impeded democratization in South Korea. In tracing the increasing coalitional ties between local prodemocracy protests and transnational human rights activism, the book also calls attention to the parallel development of counteraction human rights policies by the South Korean regime and US administrations. Thus, this book argues that local disputes over democratization in South Korea became transnational contestations on human rights through the development of trans–Pacific human rights politics. This book project was awarded the 2020 publication grant from the Academy of Korean Studies.

In keeping with the university’s mission of promoting academic and cultural diversity, Prof. Hwang is developing a summer introductory immersion course to be taught in Seoul, South Korea.