In 2018 the Liu Institute was successful in its application for a prestigious Korea Foundation professorship seed grant worth roughly $500,000 to establish a tenure-track faculty line focused on contemporary Korean affairs. The grant made it possible for the Liu Institute and the Keough School of Global Affairs to hire Sharon Yoon, assistant professor of Korean Studies, who began at Notre Dame in fall 2020. Yoon’s position is the first dedicated to Korean Studies outside the Korean language program.
Yoon earned her PhD in sociology from Princeton University and graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Blakemore-Freeman Foundation, the Korea Foundation, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences, and the Social Science Research Council.
Before coming to Notre Dame, Yoon was an assistant professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. In addition to her academic research, she has worked with think tanks such as the Korea Economic Institute and the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, local grassroots organizations such as the Korea NGO Center and the Center for Multiethnic Human Rights Education in Osaka, and mainstream media outlets such as NPR and KBS World Radio. She speaks fluent Korean and Japanese, and is proficient in Mandarin.
“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of bringing Professor Sharon Yoon to Notre Dame,” said Liu Institute Director Michel Hockx. “We urgently need to end the situation where we teach major Asian languages, such as Korean, but students studying those languages cannot take content courses about the relevant countries. Professor Yoon’s scholarship is impressive and, through its emphasis on studying Korean migrant communities, relevant—particularly to current debates about discrimination of vulnerable minorities. In addition to her teaching and research, Professor Yoon has also helped to enlighten and advance the campus community and beyond through participating in discussions about anti-Asian discrimination and racism. We are grateful to the Korea Foundation for understanding Notre Dame’s need and for collaborating with us in bringing Professor Yoon here.”