The Korea Institute is pleased to announce the Soon Young Kim Postdoctoral Fellow in Korean Studies for academic year 2018-19: Dr. Sunhye Kim.
Sunhye Kim earned her Ph.D. in Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland in 2018. Sunhye’s dissertation, “Baby Miles”: Reproductive Rights, Labor, and Ethics in the Transnational Korean Reproductive Technology Industry, examines the transnational assisted reproductive technology (ART) industry in South Korea to demonstrate how the concepts of reproductive rights and labor have been contested, negotiated, and reconstructed by various actors—including infertile couples, gamete donors, gestational surrogates, state agents, and medical professionals—across national boundaries. Drawing on three years of multi-sited ethnographic research conducted in South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Ukraine, she positions this project to dispute the unilateral understanding of ART, which is typically conceptualized as having a unidirectional flow from the “West” to Asia, by focusing on the complex relations between Korean intended parents and non-Korean gamete providers and gestational surrogates. For the research project, she received a research fellowship from the University Maryland and a grant from the Korean National Institute for Bioethics Policy. Previously, Sunhye received her B.A. and M.A. in Sociology at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and worked at the Korean Women’s Development Institute as a researcher.
Sunhye’s research and teaching interests are related to the politics of human (re)production in transnational Asia; in particular, her research centers on the study of the transnational circuits of the assisted reproductive technology (ART) industry as a site of interdisciplinary inquiry. She is currently planning to expand on her dissertation work to focus on the Korean men involved in ART. By examining historical constructions of masculinity in relation to fertility and sexuality in South Korea, she plans to write a book integrating such findings with her earlier dissertation work. In addition, her future research projects will broaden examinations of the ART industry to include other East Asian countries to explore how the concepts of Asia or Asianness are contested in the baby-making industry for East Asian customers.