June Hee Kwon, Visiting Scholar

June Hee Kwon
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My research and teaching fields include transnational migration and development; urbanization and borderlands; ethnic politics and economy; anthropology of exchange, value, and ethics; money, intimacy, and sex; and post-Cold War and post-socialist cultures in China, North Korea, and South Korea. 

My dissertation, Mobile Ethnicity: The Formation of the Korean Chinese Transnational Migrant Class, examines the relationship between migration and development, ethnicity and capitalism with a focus on the role of remittances in creating transnational subjectivity and space. For more than two years I conducted field research in Seoul, South Korea, and in the Korean Chinese Autonomous Prefecture of Yanbian, China, an ethnic zone bordering North Korea that has historically been the home of a Chinese minority group with Korean ethnicity. Informed by studies on mobility and capitalism, money and gift, ethnicity and performativity, my project analyzes the characteristics of remittances in reshaping subjectivity, intimacy, spatiality, and temporality. I argue that Korean Chinese migrant workers under the new spatiality and temporality have fashioned a mobile ethnicity as a way of dealing with the contingencies of contemporary economic reform and their own neoliberal status as self-responsible subjects. However, this form of self-fashioning has sealed these workers into a circuit of migration, and has left them (as well as Yanbian’s economic development) vulnerable to the unstable flow of remittances.


AMES605 East Asian Cultural Studies
CULANTH80 Global Migrations: Money, Sex, and Power