Chun, Yoon receive NEH fellowships for Asia research

Author: Notre Dame News

Tarryn Chun
Tarryn Chun

Liu Institute faculty fellows Tarryn Chun and Sharon Yoon are among four University of Notre Dame faculty members to win National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, extending the University’s record success with the federal agency committed to supporting original research and scholarship. Chun is an assistant professor in the Department of Film, Television and Theatre in the College of Arts and Letters, and Yoon is an assistant professor of Korean studies in the Keough School of Global Affairs.

Chun, who studies Chinese theater and visual culture, will investigate connections between aesthetics and technology for her project, “Spectacle and Excess in Global Chinese Performance.” Media release about Chun's award.

Since the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, large-scale multimedia theater has become a prominent performance genre in China and throughout the Chinese-speaking world.

“This research is particularly relevant as theater absorbs lessons learned from being online during the pandemic and looks toward reinventing itself for post-pandemic stages and audiences,” said Chun, who holds a concurrent appointment in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. “We’re at a moment when theater artists worldwide are grappling with how to sustain live performance in a digital world and under ongoing pandemic conditions.” 

Sharon Yoon
Sharon Yoon

Yoon was awarded a fellowship by the NEH and the Japan-United States Friendship Commission to research anti-racist movements that support Korean minorities living in Japan. Media release about Yoon's award.

For her project, “Social Media Activism and the Fight against Hate in Osaka’s Koreatown,” Yoon will analyze how social network sites have opened up new avenues for civic engagement in Japan. In particular, she will research how physical environments such as Korean enclaves shape the ways activists share information and resources to effect legislative change. Third- and fourth-generation Korean activists, known as zainichi Koreans, led a counter-movement to stop far-right hate rallies targeting Korean communities between 2013 and 2015. Bringing together a broad coalition of left-wing activists, LGBTQ minorities, human rights lawyers and ordinary Japanese citizens, the counter-activists were able to pressure local politicians to implement the first anti-hate speech ordinance in Osaka and, later, a national anti-hate speech bill in 2016.

“I want to understand how a group of disenfranchised minorities was able to achieve such concrete legislative measures so quickly,” Yoon said. “Zainichi Koreans represent a little over 1 percent of Japan’s population, are descendants of labor migrants who once worked under slave-like conditions and in some cases continue to occupy the lowest rungs of society.

The Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan program is a joint activity of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission (JUSFC) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The goals of the program are to promote Japan studies in the United States, to encourage U.S.-Japanese scholarly exchange, and to support the next generation of Japan scholars in the United States. 

Awards support research on modern Japanese society and political economy, Japan’s international relations, and U.S.-Japan relations. The program encourages innovative research that puts these subjects in wider regional and global contexts and is comparative and contemporary in nature. Research should contribute to scholarly knowledge or to the general public’s understanding of issues of concern to Japan and the United States.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

The Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies provides integrated and multidisciplinary research and teaching on Asia. The Institute also promotes general awareness, understanding, and knowledge of Asia through public events and supporting student and faculty scholarship and engagement with partners in Asia. The Institute, part of the Keough School of Global Affairs, was established in 2010 by a gift from the RM Liu Foundation that supports the philanthropic activities of Robert and Mimi Liu and their children, Emily and Justin, both Notre Dame graduates.