As a scholar, I take a structural approach to the study of higher education and the political and economic conditions under which the sector operates in order to compare the organizational behavior of universities in the United States and countries in Asia. More than just a comparativist, however, I am a critical social scientist who uses ethnographic writing to make sense of people’s experiences framed within institutional structures. I am interested in untangling the often messy intersections across governmental, institutional, and individual agency. I am also fascinated by the ways in which higher education policies and practices can shape the lives of those who inhabit a university.
I recently published my first book, Constructing Student Mobility: How Universities Recruit Students and Shape Pathways Between Berkeley and Seoul, with the MIT Press in 2023. More about the book can be found here.
I have also begun a new project that interrogates our understanding of what constitutes global knowledge by honing in on how area studies is operationalized across U.S. universities. Drawing from higher education organizational theories and Cold War histories of area studies, this project contextualizes global knowledge production by focusing on the area studies center and its contentious relationship with the American academe.
In addition to my scholarly work, I also contribute policy papers and opinion pieces on matters of professional and personal importance to me, often about international students in the United States and education issues in South Korea.
You can find my work on: