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Special lecture by Professor Grace Kao from Yale University rece...
  • 글쓴이 : Communication Team
  • 조회 : 155
  • 일 자 : 2024-06-07


Special lecture by Professor Grace Kao from Yale University receives a great response
How the phenomenon of “Sunmi-pop” has created a model for atypical idol careers
그Professor Grace Kao said, “American students’ interest in Korean culture is increasing.”

 

 

강연을 하고 있는 그레이스 카오 예일대 교수

▲ Yale University Professor Grace Kao giving her lecture

 

 

The Department of Sociology and the Center for Teaching and Learning of Korea University hosted a special lecture on Wednesday, May 22, at 10:30 AM in the SBS Hall at Media Hall. The event featured Professor Grace Kao from the Department of Sociology at Yale University as the guest speaker.


Renowned as an ambassador of Korean culture at Yale, Professor Kao delivered a lecture on the topic of “Sunmi as ‘Goddess, Gashina, and Siren’: How the Former Wonder Girls Member Developed ‘Sunmi-Pop’.”

Professor Kao, who is also the director of the Center for Empirical Research on Class and Inequality, has received the Field Award from the Section on Asia and Asian America of the American Sociological Association (ASA), and was recognized by Professor Robin Murphy Williams at the Eastern Sociological Society in 2018.

Since 2020, Professor Kao has been teaching an undergraduate course at Yale University focused on K-Pop, titled “Race and Place in the British New Wave, K-Pop, and Beyond.” Initially, the course started as a single class taught by her in 2020, but it is expected to expand to three classes next semester. Professor Kao expressed her delight at the increasing interest in Korean culture among Yale students, and highlighted that Korean has now surpassed Chinese as the most sought-after foreign language course at Yale.

 

 

강연을 하는 그레이스 카오 예일대 교수와 강연을 듣고 있는 학생들

▲ Students attending the lecture by Yale University Professor Grace Kao.

 


In this special lecture, Professor Kao highlighted that K-Pop, the Korean cultural export most familiar to non-Korean audiences, predominantly features idol groups. She explained how the individuality of idol members is woven into the collective identity of the group. In an environment where it can be challenging for individual members to distinguish themselves or establish their own brand, Sunmi, a member of the second-generation girl group Wonder Girls, managed to capture the spotlight.

Western academia has generally overlooked K-Pop in its theorization of popular music, often treating it as an isolated phenomenon rather than as an integral example of pop music.

Professor Byun Soo-yong from Penn State University, who has expertise in Education, Demography, and Asian Studies, also attended the event. He engaged in an in-depth discussion about whether the phenomenon known as “Sunmi-Pop” is observable in the American popular music scene, and explored what social or personal characteristics could have contributed to such an atypical idol career model.

Shin Eun-kyong, the Dean of the Department of Sociology of Korea University who organized the special lecture, stated, “I am keenly aware of Professor Kao’s observation that the experiences of K-pop idols in the U.S. have given the racial experiences of Asians in America a prominent platform.” She further remarked, “K-pop idols not only showcase the uniqueness of Korea’s pop culture but also act as a significant cultural phenomenon, capturing the duality of Asian identity on the global stage.”

 

 

그레이스 카오 예일대 교수의 특강에 참석한 학생들의 단체사진

▲ Group photo of students attending the lecture by Yale University Professor Kao

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