Nancy A Abelmann

Section 1


Affiliated Faculty, Staff of EUI
Professor In Memoriam 1959-2016 of Gender and Women's Studies
Faculty of Center for Global Studies

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Contact Information:


Abelmann is Associate Vice Chancellor for Research (Humanities, Arts and Related Fields) and the Harry E. Preble Professor of Anthropology, Asian American Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She writes on family, class, gender, education, and migration with a focus on South Korea and Korean/Asian America. Abelmann co-directs the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI, and served as the director of the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies from 2005-2008. She has published books on social movements in contemporary South Korea; women and social mobility in post-colonial South Korea; Korean America; and South Korean film; and most recently, The Intimate University: Korean American Students and the Problems of Segregation (Duke University Press, 2009). She is a co-editor of No Alternative? Experiments in South Korean Education (Berkeley: Global, Area, and International Archive / University of California Press, 2012) and of South Korea’s Education Exodus: The Life and Times of Early Study Abroad, forthcoming from the University of Washington Press. With psychologist Sumie Okazaki she is completing Making Family Work: How Korean American Teens and Parents Navigate Immigrant America based on field and survey research in Chicagoland. With Soo Ah Kwon, Tim Liao, and Adrienne Lo, she co-directs The American University Meets the Pacific Century research laboratory, a collaborative project on the internationalization of the undergraduate student body at the University of Illinois. She is also the PI of an Academy of Korean Studies-funded Laboratory for the Globalization of Korean Studies, The Korean Family in Comparative Perspective.


Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • East Asia
  • Sociocultural Anthropology
  • Korea, Japan, Asian America, class, in
  • Transnational/Diaspora
  • U.S./North America

Office Hours

  • On Leave



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Book Contributions

  • "Undergraduate Korean Americans and “Korean Koreans” in the Millennial American University." Koreans in America: History, Culture and Identity. . San Deigo: Cognella Academic Publishing, 2012.

  • Abelmann, Nancy. "Undergraduate Korean Americans and “Korean Koreans” in the Millennial American University." Koreans in America: History, Culture and Identity. . Ed. Grace J. Yoo. Cognella Academic Publishing, 2012.

Edited Books

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Journal Articles

  • "A Fraught Exchange? U.S. Media on Chinese International Undergraduates and the American University." Journal of Studies in International Education (2013):
  • "Defending South Korean Education Migration Mothers and Humanizing Global Children: Memoir/Manuals of Pre-College Study Abroad." Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs (2013):
  • "The New (Korean) Wave: A Global Social Mobility Story – Please Look After Mom." Korea Observer 43.3 (2012):
  • Kang, Jiyeon, and Nancy Abelmann. "The Domestication of South Korean Pre-College Study Abroad (PSA) in the first Decade of the Millennium." Journal of Korean Studies 16.1 (2011):
  • Kang, Hyeyoung , Sumie Okazaki, Nancy Abelmann, Chu Kim-Prieto, and Shanshan Lan. "Redeeming Immigrant Parents: How Korean American Emerging Adults Reinterpret Their Childhood." Journal of Youth and Adolescence (2010): 1-24.
  • Abelmann, Nancy, So Jin Park, and Hyunhee Kim. ""College Rank and Neoliberal Subjectivity in South Korea: The Burden of Self-Development"." Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 10.2 (2009): 229-247.
  • Abelmann, Nancy, Susan Davis, Cara Finnegan, and Peggy Miller. "What is StoryCorps, Anyway?." Oral History Review 36.2 (2009): 255-260.
  • Abelmann, Nancy, and Shanshan Lan. ""Christian Universalism and U.S. Multiculturalism: An "Asian American" Campus Church"." Amerasia 34.1 (2008): 65-84.
  • Abelmann, Nancy, Gina Hunter, Timothy R. Cain, Tim McDonough, and Catherine Prendergast. ""Interrogating the University, One Archival Entry at a Time"." Change: The Magazine of Higher Education (2008):
  • Abelmann, Nancy, Sumie Okazaki, and E.J.R. David. ""Colonialism and Psychology of Culture"." Social and Personality Psychology Compass (2007):
  • Abelmann, Nancy, and Catherine Prendergast. ""Alma Mater: College, Kinship, and the Pursuit of Diversity"." Social Text 24.1 (2006): 37-53.
  • Park, So Jin, and Nancy Abelmann. "Class and cosmopolitan striving: Mothers' management of English education in South Korea." Anthropological Quarterly 77.4 (2004): 645-672.

Special Issues of a Journal

  • "Introduction." Korean Ethnography. Spec. iss. of Journal of Korean Studies (2012):