Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Stephanie Lo Humanities and Social Science

Understanding the 'Korean Wave': The Role of Korean Soap Operas in Asian-American Identity, Pleasure and Cultural Proximity

This summer I will be investigating why Asian Americans engage in (inter)cultural viewing of Korean soap operas. I am interested in tying this question in with the Korean wave, that is, the general enthusiasm for Korean pop culture, but also to larger questions of pan-Asian identity, language and cultural proximity. To answer these questions, and hopefully more that I have not yet thought of, I will be viewing the most popular Korean soap operas and interviewing other viewers. I will also be engaging in Internet ethnographynetnography to further explore viewers opinions and feelings. I will track and monitor chat rooms and fan-sites that are devoted to discussing Korean soap operas. Guiding my research is the notion of the self as the subject-in-progress, one that is shifting, making and re-understanding.

Message To Sponsor

I am happy and utterly content to be able to spend a summer researching. My project is a personal one and a tangential one, mired in the tiny screen of the television but also apparent as pleasure in the lives of many of my friends. I hope to integrate what is deemed mere entertainment with the abstract theoretical. I must admit, I am seduced by theory. When I try to explain my project to my friends and my parents, oh my parents, they usually look very confused but politely congratulatory. Soap operas? Identity? Transcultural flow? Good luck But I am happy and content because it is sunny and warm and it is my time to contemplate and delve completely into beautiful research confusion.
Major: Women's Studies
Mentor: Charis Thompson, Gender and Women's Studies and Rhetoric
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