Social Hierarchy and Civil Society in South Korea: Class, Gender, Ethnicity/Nation


Thursday, February 5, 2015, 4:30pm to 6:00pm


Porté Seminar Room (S250), CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, United States

Kim Koo Forum on Korea Current Affairs

Seungsook Moon, Professor of Sociology, Vassar College; Sang-kee Kim Visiting Professor of the Social Sciences, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and Department of Sociology, Harvard University

Seungsook Moon is Professor of Sociology at Vassar College where she served as Chair of Sociology Department (2010-2013) and the Director of Asian Studies Program (2006-2009). For the academic year 2014-15, she was awarded Sang-Kee Kim Visiting Professor of the Social Sciences at Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. During the tenure of this inaugural endowed-chair visiting professorship, she is teaching a course per semester in Sociology Department (Soc 132 Food, Culture, and Globalization in the Fall and Soc 149 Masculinities: A Global Perspective in the Spring). 

Regarding her publications, she is the author of Militarized Modernity and Gendered Citizenship in South Korea (Duke University Press, 2005, reprinted in 2007) and co-editor and a contributor of Over There: Living with the U.S. Military Empire from World War II to the Present (Duke University Press, 2010). As a political and cultural sociologist and scholar of gender studies specializing in South Korea, she has published numerous articles on such topics as civil society, social movement organizations, and citizenship; gender and military service, militarism, and US military bases; collective memories; globalization and food.  

She is a recipient of the Fulbright Scholar Award (2004-2005) and has been widely consulted by news media, including CNN, El Periodico (Spain), Korea Herald, and Weekendavisen (Denmark).  

Regarding her professional service, she has been the Associate Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies, a flagship journal of the Association for Asian Studies, and also serving on the editorial board of Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Review, published by the American Sociological Association, and Asian Women. In the past, she served as Korea Book Review Editor of the JAS and served on the Editorial Board of Gender & Society, a flagship journal of Sociologists for Women in Society. 

Chaired by Paul Y. Chang, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Harvard University

Building upon empirically grounded studies of civil society in contemporary Asia and beyond, this study examines how such enduring social hierarchy as class, gender, and ethnicity/nation have inflected the working of civil society in the processes of (conservative) democratization and (neoliberal) globalization. In particular, it focuses on three different types of NGOs to analyze how the normative ideal of civil society (as the space of voluntary association) is modified by and modifying these social hierarchies.

The Korea Institute acknowledges the generous support of the Kim Koo Foundation.