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

Shu Zhu & Joanna K. Elfving-Hwang (2024) “My wife made me”: motivations for body and beauty work among older Korean and Chinese migrant adults in Australia, Journal of Women & Aging, DOI: 10.1080/08952841.2024.2307180

This article examines how older Korean and Chinese migrants living in Perth, Australia, engage in various beauty, grooming and fitness practices to negotiate “successful ageing” in transnational contexts. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 30 men and women aged between 60 and 89, we examine what social meanings are attached to these practices, and how the transnational context of living in Australia has influenced the participants’ perceptions of ageing and presentation of self in later life. Migration in later life is often considered in relation to the ‘host’ countries values and social practices, which can make it difficult for individuals to settle and feel a sense of belonging especially in later life. In this article, we will illustrate how gender, class, and cultural dispositions intersect and link with possibilities for defining and redefining successful ageing in migrant contexts. This study illustrates how successful ageing emerges as a malleable concept that draws on ideas of an ideal ageing body from the cultural values of the ‘home’ country, rather than the ‘host’ country. The findings illustrate how in everyday lived experience, the transnational habitus does not always necessarily result in a ‘divided habitus’ where the values of the ‘home’ country and that of the ‘host’ country are in conflict – even when the migration experience is relatively recent. Quite the contrary, the way the participants utilise everyday beauty, fitness and grooming practices to maintain a future-focused self in the context of ‘home’ country’s age-appropriate body ideals to perform signifiers of ‘successful migrant living’ point to the positive aspects that appearance management can have on an individual in later life, particularly in migrant contexts.

Susan Broomhall  (Australian Catholic University / KRC affiliate)

Encounter, Transformation and Agency in a Connected World: Narratives of Korean Women, 1550-1770. Routledge (ISBN 9781032343099)

Analysing a series of narratives that described women who transformed the worlds they lived in, this book introduces students and scholars to the lives of the women of Joseon Korea 1550-1700. Exploring their interactions both at home and abroad, this book shows how the agency of these women reached far across the globe.

The narratives explored here appeared in a wide range of written, visual and material forms, from woodcuts and printed texts, letters, journals, and chronicles to inscriptions on monuments, and were produced by Joseon’s elite officials, grieving families, Japanese civic administrators, Jesuit missionaries, local historians of the Japanese ceramic industry, and men of the Dutch East India Company. The women whose voices, lives, and actions were presented in these texts lived during a time when Joseon Korea was undergoing substantial social, political, and cultural changes. Their works described women’s capacity to transform, in ways large and small, themselves, their families, and society around them. Interest in such women was not limited to a readership within the kingdom alone in this period but was reported across transnational networks to a global audience, from Japan to Europe, carrying messages about Korean women’s agency far and wide. 

Susan Broomhall  (Australian Catholic University / KRC affiliate)

Evangelizing Korean Women and Gender in the Early Modern World: The Power of Body and TextARC Humanities Press.

This monograph examines how Korean women and men came to engage with Catholic missions during Europe’s late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a profoundly volatile period in East Asian history during which political, cultural, and social disruption created opportunities for new interactions in the region. It analyzes the nature of that engagement, as women and men became both subjects for, and agents of, catechizing practices. As their evangelization, experience of faith, proselytizing, and suffering were recorded in mission archives, the monograph explores contact between Catholic Christianity and Korean women in particular. Broomhall demonstrates how gender ideologies shaped interactions between missionary men and Korean women, and how women’s experiences would come to be narrated, circulated, and memorialized. 

David Bissell  (University of Melbourne), Farida Fozdar (Curtin University), et al.

Region power for mobilities research. Australian Geographer, (2023): 1-25.

In thisThinking   Spaceessay, we explain why the COVID-19pandemic makes mobilities research more important than ever. Ina time when mobilities have been reconfigured so dramatically,perhaps even leading people to value mobility differently, weneed concepts and theories that can help us to attend to andnavigate this new situation. Our contention is that mobilitiesresearch must recentre the region. Building on earlier work in themobilities paradigm, we suggest ways that regionality can beconceptualised, and argue that mobilities in our part of the worldtake distinctive manifestations that warrant our attention. Ouressay concludes by pointing to new directions for mobilitiesresearch from our region.

Hea-Jin Park, Jo Elfving-Hwang  & Younghye Seo-Whitney  (Curtin University) 

Why aid diplomacy eventually pays off: Lessons from Australia’s Demonstration Sheep Farm Project in 1970s South Korea, Melbourne Asia Review

When two Kelpie sheepdogs and the first consignment of 2,500 Australian sheep  arrived in a remote Korean village of Unbong  in the summer of 1972, few would have imagined it would lay the foundations for one of the most successful yet forgotten episodes in Australian aid diplomacy. Our research on a hitherto unresearched history of Republic of Korea-Australia foreign aid engagement in the 1970s has found that relatively small projects which focus on both the technical issues and country-to-country diplomacy can result in significant and lasting long-term mutual benefits for both the donor and recipient countries. In a way, this important story of sheep and kelpies of Unbong is a timely reminder that a nation’s ability to listen and lend a hand is the reflection of the country’s inner integrity and credibility—a soft power effect that should not be underestimated in the greater play of foreign policy because it lays the foundations of trust and long-term shared future.

Jin Lee (Curtin University) 

연결된 잔혹성: 혐오와 재미 사이의 길고양이 학대와 ‘인터넷 놀이 문화’ 공모 범죄, Magazine Tac. 4. pp. 53-68

Magazine 'Tac', a word that is the reverse of 'cat', aims to highlight contemporary cat care activities. 

Research papers in this particular issue focus on neighbourhood cats as boundary animals living in urban areas.  Published 8 papers extensively examined the activities of cats within the neighbourhood. One of the contributors is Dr Jin Lee, KRC Affiliate Researcher, examined the growing popularity and demands for animal cruelty content on the internet.

This paper has been adapted and revised from Dr Lee's recent publication in Media, Gender & Culture in 2022 

Younghye Seo-Whitney  (Curtin University) 

My encounter through the study of Korean democratization, Chi Myong-kwan’s Obituary Collection, Tongyon, Korea / Tomizaka Christian Centre, Japan.

This book "Letters from Asia" serves as a tribute to Chi Myong-kwan, who spent 20 years in Japan from 1972 as a columnist and university professor, engaging in exchanges with numerous individuals in Japan's cultural, political, educational, and religious spheres. It originated from a gathering of Japanese mourners who remembered Chi Myong-kwan and mourned his passing, which took place on May 14, 2022, at the Tokyo Domisaka Christian Center, titled "Chi Myong-kwan Memorial (Online) Gathering." Several Koreans, including KRC Associate Lecturer Younghye Seo-Whitney, contributed a paper to this book. The book, created in Japan, is a non-commercial publication, and with the organisers' permission, the texts and illustrations contained within it have been translated and included in this volume.

Jae-Eun Noh (Curtin University) 

Chapter 8. Human rights. in KOICA (eds). International Development Cooperation. Sungnam: KOICA ODA Education Center. 

KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) has published a new edition of <International Development Cooperation>. This chapter on human rights introduces core concepts, the relationship between human rights and international development, the nexus between human rights and sustainable development goals (SDGs), current trends in human rights-based development, and some examples of human rights-guided programs of KOICA and other development actors. 

This chapter is the last chapter of this book, following other chapters  that examine international development focusing on education, health, rural development, governance and peace, climate justice, science technology, and gender equality. 

Jae-Eun Noh (Curtin University) 

Ethical challenges faced by Korean development practitioners in international community development practices, Community Development Journal, 58 (1), (2023): 44-63. 

Establishing development ethics is a rising concern for Korean NGOs with a relatively short history of engaging in international community development. This study explores the ethical challenges faced by Korean development practitioners. This study draws on in-depth interviews with 13 Korean development practitioners experienced in community development projects in Asia and Africa. The exploration of contexts affecting ethical practices suggests the influence of religion, professionalism and boundaries, neo-liberal and managerial culture. The findings of this study highlight the significance of reflective practices for development ethics by illustrating how development practitioners identified and constructed norms and principles through critical encounters with their emotions and challenges in practice. This study’s practical implications include drawing attention to emotions as a source of reflection by involving underpinning values and judgement. 

Jae-Eun Noh (Curtin University) 

The emotional underpinning of norms and identities in framing Korean aid, Development in Practice, 33 (3) (2023): 361-372.

While evidence is growing in relation to emotions in international relations, emotions in aid policy have been little researched. Emotions can deepen the understanding of national norms and identities, in which aid policies are grounded. Korea is establishing its norms and identities as a non-traditional donor. This article explores Korean aid, focusing on emotions as presented and circulated in publicly available documents produced by governmental aid agencies, civil society, and news media. The findings confirm that the identified emotions – including national pride, the sense of global responsibility, and friendship – reflect and construct Korean aid norms and identities. This study suggests the role of emotions in consolidating conflicting norms, shaping a unique donor identity, and building public awareness and support. This study extends the current understanding of Korean aid by highlighting the need for more attention to the emotions in aid policies.

Eldin Milak (Sungkyunkwan University / Curtin University) & Tankosić, A. (Curtin University)

Translingual online identities in the global South: The construction of local ‘gang cultures’ in the social media spaces of Balkan and South Korean artists, Discourse, Context & Media, 50: 1-13 


This research was funded by Sungkyunkwan University, Department of English Language and Literature and by Curtin University of Technology (AU) CIPRS and Research Stipend Scholarship (RES-58667).

Eldin Milak (Sungkyunkwan University / Curtin University)

(Un)masking Seoul: The mask as a static and dynamic semiotic device for renegotiating space, Linguistic Landscape, 8(2): 233-247.

In March 2019, South Korea instituted a mask mandate as the main protective measure against the spread of Covid-19. The mask and the government-issued posters detailing guidance and regulations regarding masking have since become a prominent part of Korea’s semiotic landscape. This study focuses on the capital city of Seoul to explore how these changes in the semiotic landscape have resulted in a (re)negotiation of control over space between the government and the citizens, through the lens of the mask as a static and dynamic semiotic device. The data is drawn from photographs, observations, and notes made during 3 months of commuting in central Seoul. The findings are interpreted in the light of local sociocultural ideologies, and in reference to the greater global discourse of both governmental intrusion into and regulation of spaces and behaviors through the act of mask-wearing.

Eldin Milak (Sungkyunkwan University / Curtin University)

Call me by my name: Names, address, and the subjectivization of Korean women, Language & Communication, 85: 1-13.

Personal names in South Korea are subject to avoidance and restrictions in use grounded in the asymmetric relations of power and age that constitute the sociolinguistic ideologies of the country. At the same time, as lexical items which are inherently and conventionally referential, names have the unique reformational power to change normative social practice. The affordances provided by the dual status of names allow speakers to (re)negotiate relational parameters and reposition themselves as subjects in the wider spatiotemporal setting. The focus on female speakers reveals internal tensions between names and restricted forms of address in familial settings, where the selection and usage of names is interpreted as movement of Korean women towards subject positions on both micro-interactional and macro-social scales.

Jin Lee (Curtin University) & Crystal Abidin (Curtin University)

Introduction to the Special Issue of “TikTok and Social Movements, Social Media+ Society, 9(1), (2023): 20563051231157452.

This Special Issue of “TikTok and Social Movements” emerges from an attempt to map out the landscape of social movements happening on TikTok, drawing from the online symposium “TikTok and Social Movements” hosted in September 2021 by the TikTok Cultures Research Network, a research portal for interdisciplinary scholarship on TikTok cultures. The recent growing popularity of TikTok has transformed the cultures and practices of social movements worldwide. Through the platform’s participatory affordances, many users find meaningful ways to engage with the platform and its cultures, by leading and participating in a variety of activist initiatives for global awareness, social change, and civic politics. Within this context, this introduction to the Special Issue titled “TikTok and Social Movements” begins by thinking about how social media pop cultures have served as a vehicle for mobilizing and engaging in social movements for social (in)justice and politics in the era of social media. By situating TikTok, a nascent platform and culture of short video, within the ongoing discussion of digitally mobilized movements and social justice, this introduction addresses several crucial points to consider when discussing TikTok cultures and social movements that are happening or interrupted on the platform. These points are interrogated with more details and cultural contexts in the five case studies and three expert commentaries in this Special Issue. Specifically, the collection of papers interrogate how TikTok’s interactive and creative affordances have augmented and altered our cultures, practices, politics, and power dynamics of engaging with publics for various beliefs and social agendas. 

Crystal Abidin (Curtin University), Jin Lee (Curtin University), & D. Bondy Valdovinos Kaye (University of Leeds, France)

Introduction to the Media International Australia special issue on “TikTok cultures in the Asia Pacific, Media International Australia, 186(1), (2023): 3-10.

The editors of this Feature Topic are founding members of the TikTok Cultures Research Network that focuses on culturally-situated and qualitatively-grounded scholarship on TikTok in the Asia Pacific region. This Feature Topic collection for Media International Australia is our second in a string of Special Issues on TikTok, each primed to interrogate the platform from different scholarly vantage points while remaining committed to surfacing, highlighting, and strengthening research from, by, and about contexts in the margins. In this Feature Topic issue, we focus on the Asia Pacific region to understand the socio-cultural impacts, creative circumventions, and agentic employments of TikTok since its installation. Given the timing of symposium and intellectual inquiries, these studies have also naturally considered the cascading impacts and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on platform use, meaning making, and the habitable spaces we make for ourselves and for each other in times of crisis.

Jin Lee (Curtin University) & Crystal Abidin (Curtin University)

Oegugin Influencers and pop nationalism through government campaigns: Regulating foreign‐nationals in the South Korean YouTube ecology, Policy & Internet, 14(3),  (2022): 541-557.

In South Korea, it has become a growing trend for foreign Influencers to promote Korean cultures, especially through genres like mukbang (livestreamed binge-eating), beauty vlogs (e.g. “A day in the life of”), reaction (e.g., K-pop and K-drama “reacts”). This is observed in popular cross-platform hashtag streams like “oegugin” [#외국인; “foreign-nationals”], and “oegugin-baneung” [#외국인반응; “foreigner reactions”]. While institutions frequently deploy Influencers as ambassadors, the popularity of oegugin Influencers—particularly those of White descent—is prominently observed in South Korea alongside the global popularity of K-culture. In response, this paper details the emergent interventions toward the development and regulation of the oegugin Influencer ecology, by reviewing the strategic choices of oegugin Influencers when they work with government ministries and companies, especially around nation branding campaigns and contents. Specifically, we consider how the discourse of nation branding and nationalism is being shaped, promoted, and advocated by oegugin Influencers in the form of popular culture, despite Korea's existing racial system, which can be contentious for its entanglements with online hate and xenophobia. Further, we focus on what we call “pop nationalism” as evidenced in the oegugin Influencers' nationalist contents, and discuss how racial boundaries are regulated in the (re)production and consumption of such contents.

*This research was funded by the Australian Research Council (DE190100789).

Claire Shinhea Lee (Pusan National University) & Jin Lee (Curtin University)

Migrant Mothers and Neoliberal Feminism: Diasporic Audience Research on the Korean Reality Show Strangers, Feminist Media Studies, (2022). 

This study analyzes the ways in which media represent maternal femininity under the context of neoliberalism and migration, and how diasporic housewives rework such representations. By employing a mixed method that includes a textual and online audience analysis of the Korean reality show Strangers, we investigate how diasporic Korean women’s online communities (DKWOC) related to the show’s portrayal of Korean female migrants’ racialized and gendered everyday lives in the US as trailing wives. We found that, while a critique of gender politics and class-ignorance in Strangers already existed, overall diasporic women blamed themselves by constantly comparing their motherhood performance to that portrayed on the show, and justified their sacrifice and hardships using the logic of “migration as a family strategy.” However, the solidarity and comradeship among DKWOC built through positive psychology discourse easily diluted those critical reflections. We argue that a belief in resilience is problematic for the survival of trailing wives, since it casts a blind eye to their real experiences—which includes gender discrimination embedded in both public and domestic spaces—and legitimates backlash narratives, including the belief that the stay-at-home mother position is an active choice, rather than the result of unequal global, legal, and gender infrastructures.

Jin Lee (Curtin University) & Claire Shinhea Lee (Pusan National University)

‘You betrayed us’: Ethnic celebrity gossip in diasporic women’s online communities, Convergence, 28(3), (2022): 613–628.

This article examines a relationship between ethnic celebrities and diasporic communities by focusing on one case of Korean diasporic women gossiping about Korean actress Seo Min-jung. After a 10-year hiatus following her sudden migration to the United States and marriage to a Korean American dentist in 2007, Seo made a successful comeback to show business by starring in Korean reality shows and opening her Instagram account. Seo’s struggles as a Korean immigrant woman/housewife/mother, portrayed in TV shows and on Instagram, positively resonated with diasporic Korean women’s online communities (DKWOC). This positive discourse around Seo, however, transformed into celebrity bashing when her Instagram scandal happened in 2019. We trace the change of gossip around Seo in DKWOC concerning Korean diasporic women’s identity and status. We argue that DKWOC members’ gossiping of Seo functions as a way of coping with their situation, as they come to recognise the class difference between themselves and Seo and feel disempowered by their dissatisfying circumstances as immigrant.

Jin Lee (Curtin University) 

Networked Cruelty: Hate-based, fun-centered animal cruelty and playful complicity on the internet, Media, Gender & Culture, 37(2), (2022): 5-45.

This study is based on my 4 year-long digital ethnography on animal cruelty on the internet. Animal cruelty is social crime that has a long history across the globe. Notably, today’s animal cruelty is widely and popularly shared and consumed through social media, online communities, and social messenger apps, which has developed almost as a ‘new play culture’ on the web. I situate the growing popularity and demands for animal cruelty content on the internet, as evidenced in the increasing cases of torturing stray cats, within the contexts of online sensationalism and hate discourse/culture in South Korea. I consider online animal cruelty as a new internet vernacular culture, stemming from online misogyny in South Korea. I argue that the online animal cruelty culture is a networked complicity, originating in the hate culture and fragile masculinity today, which has risen as backlash against increasing visibility of feminism and discussion around gender equity in the Korean society. The networked complicity further expands across the online space and becomes popularized, encouraging anonymous others’ participation for fun, based on online anonymity and networkedness, while its criminality is overshadowed and dismissed. I conclude the paper by emphasizing an urgent need for the government, industry, media, and academics to take actions to stop the increasingly violent online hate/torture culture.

Jo Elfving-Hwang (Curtin University)

Pretty Tough: Reading Visual Aesthetics of K-Pop Masculinities. Hallyu! The Korean Wave (Victoria and Albert Museum, London), (2022): 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 

Mission Accomplished: Korean 1 (Seoul: Hanwoo). (2022). 

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) & Rebekah Jaung

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). (2022). 

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)

Development Practitioners’ Emotions for Resilience: Sources of Reflective and Transformative Practices, Third World Quarterly, 43 (10), (2022): 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)

Constructing ‘others’ and a wider ‘we’ as emotional processes, Thesis Eleven. 170 (1), (2022): 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. 

Korea Research Centre & the UWA Defence and Security Institute 

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

ROK-Australia Defence and Security Ties: Prospects and Reflections on the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations – UWA Defence & Security Institute ( 

Nicola Fraschini (Melbourne University) and Hyunjin Park

A Q methodology study to explore Korean as a second language undergraduate student-teachers’ anxiety, International Journal of Educational Research Open, 3 (2022): 100132.

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 t o 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)

Language learners’ emotional dynamics: insights from a Q methodology intensive single-case study, Language, Culture and Curriculum.

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 (Brunel Universtiy, UK)

Religion: Finding your true self: YouTubing the South Korean temple stay, in Heidi et al. (eds) Digital Religion, Routledge (2021).  (ISBN: 9780367272364)

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.” 

Korea Research Centre 

Toward Deeper Engagement: Prospects and Reflections on the 60th Anniversary of ROK-Australia Diplomatic Relations, (2021). 

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.

Joanna Elfving-Hwang (Curtin University), Theo Mendez, (Melbourne University), and Masafumi Monden (Sydney University)

Where is Asia in Fortress Australia? Asian Currents (2021). 

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 (Brunel University, UK)

AI, culture industries and entertainment, in Eliott (eds). The Routledge Social Science Handbook of AI, Routledge, 2021: 295-312. 

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. 

Jo Elfving-Hwang (Curtin University)

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. (2020), pp. 133–152.

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.

Jo Elfving-Hwang (Curtin University)

The body, cosmetic surgery and the discourse of “westernization of Korean bodies". in Craig, ML. (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Beauty Politics. (2021). pp. 273-284. 

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. 

Nicola Fraschini (Melbourne University) and Hyunjin Park

Anxiety in language teachers: Exploring the variety of perceptions with Q methodology. Foreign Language Annals, 54(2), (2021): 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. 

Jae-Eun Noh (Curtin University) 

Review of human rights-based approaches to development: Empirical evidence from developing countries. The International Journal of Human Rights, 26(5), (2021): 883-901

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. 

Nicola Fraschini (Melbourne University) and Yu Tao (University of Western Australia) 

Emotions in online language learning: Exploratory findings from an ab initio Korean course. Journal of multilingual and multicultural development,  (2021): 1-19.

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. 

Jae-Eun Noh (Curtin University) 

Mindfulness for Developing Communities of Practice for Educators in Schools. Mindfulness, 12, (2021): 2966-2982.

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. 

Sam Han (Brunel University, UK)

(Inter)Facing Death Life in Global Uncertainty. (2020). Routledge. 

(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.