The Korea Research Centre publishes a range of articles, books and policy reports on Korea-related topics. See below links to our latest publications.

Jo Elfving-Hwang (Curtin University)

Elfving-Hwang, J. (2022). Pretty Tough: Reading Visual Aesthetics of K-Pop Masculinities. Hallyu! The Korean Wave (Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London), 130-135.

To those unfamiliar with K-pop, the physical aesthetics of male idols may appear at first glance ‘soft’ or perhaps even effeminate. For K-pop fans, however, the idols simply represent another masculine aesthetic. Another frequent misinterpretation of male idols’ onstage and even off-stage aesthetics suggests that they represent an alternative – or perhaps even a threat – to normative Korean masculinity. In fact, onstage performances of K-pop masculinity should be understood primarily as part of the K-pop genre’s wider visual aesthetic, which may or may not be emulated by young men, but which are certainly not intended to redefine hegemonic masculinity in Korea . Closer inspection of how aesthetics are utilised in K-pop music videos soon reveals that what initially may appear as ‘soft masculinity’ signifies what could be more accurately termed ‘soft-hard’, designed to appeal to multiple potential audiences. K-pop is, after all, produced for the consumption of fans and, as such, it aims to reach the broadest possible audience.

This book chapter was published in a book accompanying the Victoria and Albert Museum's Hallyu! Exhibition of Korean popular culture in London 2022-2023.

Nicola Fraschini (Melbourne University) & Hyun Mi Kim

Fraschini, Nicola & Kim, Hyunmi (2022), Mission Accomplished: Korean 1 (Seoul: Hanwoo).

KRC affiliate Dr Nicola Fraschini has published a new Korean language book with Hyunmi Kim for overseas students wanting to learn Korean. Volume 1 is out now to order, and Volume 2 will be available in February 2023!

We look forward to using this book series at Curtin Korean Studies.

These textbooks were developed with the support of the Core University Program for Korean Studies through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS-2020-OLU-20200039)

Jae-Eun Noh (Curtin University) and R. Jaung

Jaung, R. & Noh, J-E. (2022). Korean diaspora peace movements in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. In V. Morse (Eds). Peace Action: Struggles for a Decolonised, Demilitarised and Independent Pacific. Wellington: Left of the Equator Press. (ISBN 978-0-47-363445-2)

This book is about activists, their organising and their causes, and the interconnections between social struggles separated by the vast expanse of Te Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa. It includes chapters on the Doctrine of Discovery, on Ihumātao, on anti-militarist organising in South Korea, on campaigning against US military training in Hawai'i and Japan, on French colonialism in Tahiti and Kanaky, about Korean peace movements in Aotearoa and Australia, about Indonesia's occupation of West Papua, on feminist resistance to war, on NZ's history of Chinese-Māori solidarity, and on peace gardening at Parihaka. Dr Noh's and Dr Jaung's chapter addresses Korean diaspora peace movements in Aotearoa NZ and Australia.

Jae-Eun Noh (Curtin University)

Jae-Eun Noh (2022). Development Practitioners’ Emotions for Resilience: Sources of Reflective and Transformative Practices, Third World Quarterly, 43 (10), 2509-2525.

This research explores emotions that practitioners experience and the roles of emotions in their resilience by drawing on Bourdieu’s practice theory to conceptualise emotions as resources to be embraced rather than something to be managed and controlled. Interviews with 13 Korean non-government organisation workers showed that practitioners’ emotions were influenced by religion and social conditions, and their emotions influenced their development practices and relationships with self and others. The findings highlight that emotions can promote practitioners’ reflective and transformative practices, helping practitioners build resilience.

Jae-Eun Noh (Curtin University)

New publication from Dr Jae-Eun Noh, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University and KRC!

Jae-Eun Noh (2022). Constructing ‘others’ and a wider ‘we’ as emotional processes, Thesis Eleven. 170(1), 43-57.

This study looks at policy decisions around vaccines and health services and their associated emotions in the context of Korea, drawing on social theories of emotions during crises and emotions towards others. The study finds that the COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened nationalism, both ethnic nationalism and cosmopolitan nationalism. This article suggests paying attention to the role of emotions in generating othering practices and developing global solidarity.

Access the publication here: Constructing ‘others’ and a wider ‘we’ as emotional processes: A case of South Korea in times of crisis - Jae-Eun Noh, 2022 (

ROK-Australia Defence and Security ties: Prospects and Reflections on the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations

Dr Nicola Fraschini and Hyunjin Park (2022)

A Q methodology study to explore Korean as a second language undergraduate student-teachers’ anxiety

Teaching is an emotionally demanding job, and negative emotions such as anxiety affect teacher practices, identity, and student learning. Therefore, it is essential to consider the emotional challenges student-teachers expect from their future careers. This study explores how a cohort of student-teachers enrolled in a Korean as a Second Language (KSL) teaching undergraduate degree course perceive the emotional challenges of the teaching profession, with a focus on those aspects that are perceived to trigger anxiety. Q methodology was used to collect data from 37 Korean L1 undergraduate students, explore their shared worries and concerns, and inform improvements that can be brought to the undergraduate program under investigation.

Nicola Fraschini (Melbourne University)

Nicola Fraschini (2022): Language learners’ emotional dynamics: insights from a Q methodology intensive single-case study, Language, Culture and Curriculum, DOI: 10.1080/07908318.2022.2133137

Learner emotions represent sudden, dynamic, and complex adaptations to the language classroom environment. Recent Second Language Acquisition research calls for a more holistic perspective in approaching classroom emotions, one that considers emotional variations between and across learners, and which foregrounds the interconnections among emotions and between emotions and the learning environment. This paper approaches emotions from a complex dynamic systems perspective and investigates the classroom emotions of five university students of Korean as a foreign language using a Q methodology intensive single-case study design.

Sam Han (2021)

Religion: Finding your true self

YouTubing the South Korean temple stay

Since the 2000s, South Korean popular culture has had massive global reach and impact. Starting off as a regional interest in Korean popular music, television shows, and films (mostly in neighboring China and Japan), two decades into the 21st century it has become a massive phenomenon around the world, with fan bases that stretch from Europe to South America (Kim 2013). This recent rise in interest in Korean culture has extended to cosmetics (under the banner of K-beauty), food (K-food), and, perhaps as a natural extension of both, Korean “wellness.”

Read the full chapter here .

New KRC Publications (Open Access):

We are pleased to announce the publication of the first volume of Korea Research Centre Paper Series focusing on prospects and reflections on the 60th Anniversary of ROK-Australia Diplomatic Relations.

Authors include: Jeffrey Robinson, David Hundt, Younghye Seo-Whitney, Bronwen Dalton, Caleb Kelso-Marsh and Joanna Elfving-Hwang.

Dowload your copy here.

New KRC Publications (Open Access):

Joanna Elfving-Hwang, Theo Mendez, Masafumi Monden (2021). Where is Asia in ‘Fortress Australia’?

As Australia closes in on two full years of closed borders and rolling lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, inflows of students and new migrants into the country have already reduced to a trickle. The effects of isolation from the rest of the world are thus beginning to make themselves apparent in a worrying pivot towards traditional allies evidenced by AUKUS. What does this mean for Asia education in Australia?

This article considers the implications of this parochial pivot when fortress Australia eventually lowers its drawbridge, enabling the free movement of people across its borders once again. It argues that it is critical for government to realise the importance of Asian Studies education in preparing Australians for the reality of living in an increasingly diverse, rich, vibrant, and “Asian” Australia.

Sam Han (2021)

AI, culture industries and entertainment

The role of artificial intelligence (AI) in contemporary cultural and entertainment industries speaks to its increasing ubiquity in specific fields but also everyday life more broadly. This chapter offers an all-too-brief exploration of artificial intelligence’s impact on the creative, cultural and entertainment industries. For Adorno, the industrialization of culture, and music in particular, manipulates the masses, in effect, limiting the exposure of the audience to different kinds of music, namely music that challenges rather than pleases. Mechanical reproduction, which in this case, is the recording and broadcasting of “good music,” such as that of Beethoven, to a broad audience basically standardizes it, thus making it a commodity. The Turing test, while widely accepted as the standard for “assessing artificial intelligence,” has some drawbacks, especially when it comes to creativity and art. The question of artificial intelligence in the realm of cultural and creative industries remains open to new and unexpected developments in the future.

See more here.

New KRC Publications (Open Access):

Elfving-Hwang, J. (2020). Competency as an Embodied Social Practice: Clothing, Presentation of Self and Corporate Masculinity in South Korea. In J. Hoegaerds, & K. Aarvik (Eds.), Making It Like Man: Men, Masculinities and the Modern Career (pp. 133–152). Walter de Gruyter.

Focusing on the social aspects of grooming, clothing and projecting ‘ideal’ physical presence in South Korea, this chapter examines dress code and performing heterosexual masculinity in the workplace as a site for producing ideal bodies for the homo-social gaze.

New KRC Publications:

Elfving-Hwang, J. (2021). The body, cosmetic surgery and the discourse of “westernization of Korean bodies".

This chapter discusses some of the key meanings attached to aesthetic surgical practice and other biomedical technologies of the body that influence attitudes and uptake of cosmetic surgery practices in South Korea. Taking body as a lens through which to illustrate how individuals relate to and experience their subjectivities through the body, it seeks to question the notion that the high uptake of cosmetic surgery can be explained in reference to nebulous concepts such as collectivism, or desires for Westernizing the body, as key motivations in decision-making.

New KRC Publications:

Fraschini, N., & Park, H. (2021). Anxiety in language teachers: Exploring the variety of perceptions with Q methodology. Foreign Language Annals, 54(2), 341-364.

The negative effects of anxiety on teachers' lives, classroom practice, and student learning have highlighted the importance of this emotion for the language teaching field. An understanding of anxiety in language teaching offers a means to explore how language teachers interact with their professional environment, also yielding important implications for teacher well-being. This paper uses Q methodology to investigate Korean as a second language teachers' shared experiences related to anxiety in the language teaching profession, foregrounding different ways that language teachers interact with their professional environment, and exploring holistically participants' subjectivities.

New KRC Publications:

Jae-Eun Noh (2021). Review of human rights-based approaches to development: Empirical evidence from developing countries.

This scoping review was conducted to collate empirical research on HRBA programmes in developing countries, focusing on the patterns in current understandings and the operationalisation and contribution of HRBAs. Overall, development practices in the name of HRBAs varied considerably. The analysis highlighted the role of theories, the influence of contexts and development players, tensions between conflicting rights, and added values of HRBAs.

New KRC Publications:

Nicola Fraschini & Yu Tao (2021). Emotions in online language learning: exploratory findings from an ab initio Korean course.

This paper reports the empirical findings of an exploratory investigation conducted in a fully synchronous online learning environment for ab initio Korean. Through an Achievement Emotions Questionnaire administered to 117 students in an Australian university, this study measures learners’ pride as well as their enjoyment and anxiety during four teaching weeks. In addition, this paper examines how learner emotions correlate with academic achievement as well as crucial learner and teacher variables.

New KRC Publications:

Jae-Eun Noh (2021). Mindfulness for Developing Communities of Practice for Educators in Schools.

The objectives of the present study were to explore the experiences and perceived effects of cultivating mindfulness on the personal and professional lives of educators. The findings provided some evidence showing how mindfulness meditation can reduce a sense of isolation and promote a sense of connectedness among heterogenous school members and how processes of communal mindfulness practice can contribute to evolving a community of practice at schools.

New KRC Publications:

Sam Han (2020). (Inter)Facing Death

Life in Global Uncertainty.

(Inter)Facing Death analyzes the nexus of death and digital culture in the contemporary moment in the context of recent developments in social, cultural and political theory. It argues that death today can be thought of as "interfaced," that is mediated and expressed, in various aspects of contemporary life rather than put to the side or overcome, as many narratives of modernity have suggested. Employing concepts from anthropology, sociology, media studies and communications, (Inter)Facing Death examines diverse phenomena where death and digital culture meet, including art, online suicide pacts, the mourning of celebrity deaths, terrorist beheadings and selfies. Providing new lines of thinking about one of the oldest questions facing the human and social sciences, this book will appeal to scholars and students of social and political theory, anthropology, sociology and cultural and media studies with interests in death.