Upcoming Presentations


Past Presentations (manuscripts available upon request)

(De)Valuing Nations: Boycotts and the Reconfiguration of "Korean" Commodities in the Chinese Consumer Markets
Society for Economic Anthropology 42nd Annual Meeting
 June 1-3, 2022, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Abstract: How do consumers assess commodity value based on its national origin or identity? How do manufacturers and merchants craft the connection between their products and nations, speculating how such association adds value to the products? This paper examines the evaluation and reformulation of "Koreanness" during the nationwide boycott of Korean products in China in 2017. The military tension surrounding the implementation of defensive missile systems (THAAD) in South Korea triggered the fierce opposition of the Chinese government, fueling anti-Korean sentiments among Chinese consumers. Korean products, which had been welcomed for their good qualities and positive images associated with (South) Korea as a nation, suddenly became means to express patriotic sentiments among Chinese citizens. South Korean and Korean Chinese businesspeople, whose business in China relies on the sales of Korean foods, are forced to reassess their business models, depreciating the Korean identity of their products or refashioning their Koreanness as cultural or ethnic characters. In this paper, which is based on my fieldwork in the Korean food industry in China, I analyze how multiple, competing, and speculative imaginaries on "Koreanness" in the Chinese markets condition consumer choices, marketing strategies, and commodity supply networks. The paper focuses on how the boycott provides a unique opportunity to reflect on the connection between commodity value and nationality, not only for consumers and producers but also for anthropologists. Thinking with Korean and Korean Chinese businesspeople who are forced to reassess their products' national identity and marketing strategies, I examine how commodity value formation is situated within nationalist and geopolitical imaginaries, of which relationships reveal themselves through interruptions and breakdowns such as the boycott.

Reimagining ‘Korea': The Topography of ‘Korea' in Korean Kimchi, Korean-Chinese, and Qingdao Koreatowns
Presented at the East Asia: Transregional Histories Workshop, 
The University of Chicago, October 28, 2021 (English)

Designing Kimchi: Cycles of Reflection and Speculation in the Making of “Korean” Kimchi
     Presented at the Semiotics: Culture in Context Workshop
The University of Chicago, January 9, 2020 (English)

Designing Kimchi: Desire, Imagination, and Nationality in Product Design
Presented at American Anthropological Association & Canadian 
Anthropology Society Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada, November 20, 2019 (English)

Economic Growth and Environment in China
Invited for the lecture in International Education Week 2019 Program 
at the Oakton Community College, November 18, 2019 (English)

‘It Works because it Works Badly’: Meaning of Business Trip in Sino-Korean Food Trade
Presented at East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy, and Society, 
The University of Chicago, November 14, 2014 (English)

A Reflection on Translocal Connections: Reassembling a Chinese Rural Village
Presented at Semiannual Meeting of the Korean Society for Cultural 
Anthropology, Seoul, Republic of Korea, November 26, 2011 (Korean)

Is National Cuisine an Inalienable Possession?: Crises and Controversies over the Nationality of Kimchi in the Republic of Korea, 1994-2010
Presented at the Society for East Asian Anthropology (SEAA) Conference, 
Jeonju, Republic of Korea, August 2, 2011 (English)

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