My research focuses on the intersections of environment and nature, disasters,and the politics of scientific knowledge and engineering in East Asia.
Currently, I am working on a book manuscript, titled “Material Time, Bodily Time: Asbestos, Slow Disaster, and Toxic Politics in South Korea.” It explores the history and politics of asbestos as both praised and condemned material, within the changing social and political context of East Asia. I follow the traces of asbestos from mines to factories, cities, hospitals, streets and courts, revealing multiple scales and temporalities involved in asbestos exposure. This project sheds light on the significance of the time as the key political matter in the asbestos disaster.
In my second project, I look at the envirotechnical changes of the Han River in South Korea in the 20th century. “The Miracle of the Han River,” a metaphoric phrase referring to the rapid economic growth of South Korea, illustrates the symbolic and material connections between nature and development. I am interested in how these connections are manifested in the changing techno-environment of the Han, and how those changes have affected the people living along the river, upstream and downstream.
Before joining Drexel University, I researched and taught in South Korea. I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Catholic University of Korea, and a lecturer at Hanyang University. My research has been awarded fellowships from the National Research Foundation of Korea (2012-2014, 2017-2019). Other than academic works, I have been writing for popular media, and been involved in publishing a popular magazine called Epi, which explores the intersections of science and society.