Kyunghee Eo

Kyunghee Eo's picture
Assistant Professor

Kyunghee Eo is a scholar of modern Korean literature and popular culture, with an emphasis on women’s literature, Korean LGBTQ+ culture and history, queer East Asian studies, and Korean American studies. She is interested in how the voices of women and sexual minorities in Korea have been articulated in the nation’s literature and popular culture over the past century and considers these cultural texts against contemporary global queer and feminist discourses.

In her first book project, The Erotics of Purity: A Cultural History of the South Korean Girl Aesthetic, Kyunghee contemplates the figure of the girl (sonyŏ) through an interdisciplinary methodology informed by queer and feminist theory. Through close readings of canonical literary texts as well as more popular forms of media like manwha and K-Pop, her project shows how the unique girl sensibility (sonyŏ kamsŏng) that we see in South Korean cultural production today is not just a byproduct of hetero-patriarchal discourse, but rather, a cultural form that has articulated the desires, erotic fantasies, and political aspirations of women and girls in Korea over the past century. She is also currently at work on the English translation of Nak Chung Thun (1875-1953), an early twentieth century Korean immigrant to Southern California whose epic fiction and short stories were only recently discovered and published in Korean.

Kyunghee received her BA (2007) and MA (2012) from Yonsei University, and PhD (2021) in English from the University of Southern California. Before coming to Yale, she was Assistant Professor of Korean at the University of Colorado Boulder. More of her writings and translations can be found in Revisiting Minjung (Michigan UP, 2019), Readymade Bodhisattva (Kaya Press, 2019), Queer Korea (Duke UP, 2020), and VOSTOK (Vostok Press, 2016).