After graduating from Berkeley, I moved to East Asia to work as a photographer and a journalist for an NGO. My primary topic was on the complex network of political, religious, and social actors involved in the militarism of the Asia-Pacific. This is in light of the recent policy taken up in the United States as the Pivot to Asia, where its launch has seen significant developments in Asian geopolitics and economic alliances. My task was to report on these developments: overlapping FTAs, heightened national security measures, and regional protests that confronted both of them. During the process, I met various intellectuals, CSO workers, filmmakers, and activists like Noam Chomsky and Mairead Maguire. Their participation and views on these matters have broadened my understanding of (inter)national formations and peacebuilding, two topics I wish to pursue in future Ph.D. studies.
My area of research for the Master’s program will likely expand on my experience in Asia. The question that has always piqued and challenged me was how national formations respond to global pressures. To answer this question, I plan to research South Korea, the country of my origin prior to immigration. This country, partly for reasons mentioned above, is facing the heavy pressures of “modernity”, which is exacting a dramatic change in its national configuration. I intend to hone in on the cultural component of this societal transformation. Doing so will shed light on how South Korea faces concerns of evolving nationalism and cultural membership in the era of multiculturalism and globalization.
- B.A., English Literature, University of California – Berkeley, 2012-2014