Associate Professor of History and Global Migrations
As a scholar of the 20th-century U.S. history, with specializations in Asian American history, women's history, and immigration history, she teaches a wide range of courses such as "Critical Issues in Asian American History," "Asian America and the 'Good War,'" "Transnational History of Asian American Women," "U.S. Imperialism and Hawai'i," "The History of Love and Dating in the United States," and "Black and Yellow Encounters: Race, Labor, Immigration, and the Emergence of the Third World Left." Her teaching and research interests include intersections of migration, citizenship, globalization, and diaspora, Asian American experience, women of color and labor, transnational migration history, U.S. imperialism in Asia-Pacific, Hawaiian history, coalition and alliances among people of color, and racial identity formation.
She is the author of the forthcoming book, Resisting the Orientalization of the Enemy: Korean Americans, World War II, and the Transnational Struggle for Justice on the Homefront (Stanford University Press). Her new book project examines the history of Korean migration to Argentina and remigration to the United States, for which she was awarded the NEH and Fulbright grants.
She is an active faculty member in the Five College Asian Pacific American Studies Program and the Five College Women's Studies Program. She has given numerous talks nationally and internationally on her research on Korean American history at community gatherings, symposia, conferences, museums, colleges and universities.
This course examines the transnational history of Koreans in the United States and beyond beginning in 1903 when the first-wave of Koreans arrived in Hawai'i as sugar plantation laborers. We will examine the history of Korean immigration to the United States in the context of larger global labor migrations. The topics we will consider include racialization of Korean immigrants against the backdrop of Anti-Asian movement in California, Japanese colonization of Korea and its impact on the development of Korean American nationalism, changing dynamics of gender and family relations in Korean American communities, the Korean War and the legacies of U.S. militarism in Korea, the post-1965 "new" wave of Korean immigrants, Asian American movement, Sa-I-Gu (the 1992 Los Angeles Koreatown racial unrest), the myth of model minority, and the birth of "Korean cool" through K-pop. The focus will be on the transnational linkages between Korea and the United States and the connections between U.S. foreign policies and domestic issues that influenced the lives and experiences of Korean Americans. Paying particular attention to personal narratives through Korean American autobiographical and biographical writing, art, novels, and films, we will examine issues of historical imagination, empathy, and agency.
Even though Hawai'i is often referred to as the "Paradise on Earth," the history of Hawai'i is rife with controversial U.S. imperialism and its legacies. This course examines the history of U.S. annexation of Hawai'i as a case study of U.S. imperial ambitions. We will examine the history of the rise and fall of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, the establishment of Hawaii as a U.S. territory, and finally the current status of Hawai'i as the 50th state of the United States. Topics include the role of missionaries in introducing capitalist economy in Hawai'i, Native Hawaiian resistance to American annexation, indigenous land struggles as a result of urbanization and U.S. military expansion after annexation, new colonialism of Asian settlers in Hawai'i, revitalization of Hawaiian culture, and contemporary Hawaiian sovereignty movements. Through a variety of primary sources (court cases, diaries, memoirs, letters) and secondary sources (scholarly books, articles, documentaries, films) students will critically examine how U.S. imperialism manifested itself in Hawai'i and imposed American geopolitical and economic interests on the sovereign people of Hawai'i. This course is strongly recommended for students interested in taking the field-based course in Hawai'i during January term and will receive priority in being admitted.
This history and writing seminar will explore different forms of personal narratives - historical memoirs, fiction, flims, and oral histories - interpreting American immigrant and migrant lives to examine critical historiographical issues in U.S. immigration history. Through reading seminal historical narratives along with award-winning novels and memoirs, we will investigate on-going construction of major issues in U.S. immigration history such as imperialism, acculturation, language, citizenship, biculturalism, displacement, belonging, family, cultural inheritance, community and empowerment, agency and resistance, as well as memory and identity formation. We will pay close attention to gender, race, class, nation, and sexuality as categories of analysis and lenses through which we examine the history and narrative of U.S. immigration. The second half of the semester will be devoted to students producing their own creative non-fictional work (memoirs, films, oral histories) of immigrant/migrant narratives.