Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Jean Young Kim


PhD Candidate, Asian Cultures & Languages
Jean Young Kim

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Interests


infertility/subfertility, hope, neoliberal governmentality, biopolitics, Assisted Reproductive Technologies(ARTs), politics of reproduction, (ultra) low fertility in East Asia, everyday geographies

Biography


I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Asian Studies. I hold my B.A. and M.A. in Geography Education from Seoul National University, South Korea. Before coming to the U.S., I worked as a geography teacher at Myung Duck Foreign Language High School (2008-2009). Also, I was a research assistant at Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (2012-2013). 

 

I am currently working on my dissertation project which explores diverse meanings of hope in subfertility experiences in South Korea. I focus on the ways in which Korean society frames infertility by calling it nan-im (subfertility) instead of pu-rim (infertility). Nan-im connotes hope, will, possibility and effort because it means “having difficulty in getting pregnant.” Besides medical problems, a new terminology provides an intriguing window on biopolitical, socio-economic and gender aspects of South Korea. Namely, nan-im is an entanglement of the society’s anxieties around low childbirths, individuals’ decisions on family planning as they live through a neoliberal era, and the use of reproductive technologies at various scales. I try to examine how South Korea seeks solutions while the nation struggles with producing future citizens and individuals have difficulties in reproducing their biological child(ren). By doing so, I look at how hope is interpreted and operated in diverse ways.

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