School of Languages and Cultures

AProf Stephen Epstein

Programme Director
School of Languages and Cultures
address

Phone: 04 463 5703
Location: Room 717, Von Zedlitz Building, Kelburn Pde, Kelburn Campus

AProf Stephen Epstein

Qualifications

BA Harv, MA PhD Calif

Profile

Over the course of my career I've had dual specializations in the ancient Mediterranean and in contemporary Korea. My primary intellectual activities, however, start from a fascination with language and a desire to explore the experience of daily life in other cultures. My current research focuses on contemporary Korean literature and society, and at the moment I'm working on a variety of projects addressing popular culture and the media in South Korea. I've also published several translations of Korean and Indonesian fiction. At Victoria I direct the Asian Studies Programme and I served as director of the Asian Studies Institute for five years.

Current research projects

My main project is a study examining how an explosion of contacts that cross national boundaries is reshaping South Korean national identity. I am focusing on Korean media and popular culture representations of Korea's neighbours and its relationships with them as a vehicle for better understanding the interaction of identity and globalising forces, both in Korea and more generally. In particular, I have been exploring how increased travel and migration, a surge in intra-Asian and global media flows, (with special attention to K-pop); and the spread of new information and communication technologies are leading to transformations in South Korea's conception of its place in the region and the world. I am also working with Professor Timothy Tangherlini of UCLA on a sequel to my documentary on the emergence of punk rockin Korea wich discusses how indie and alternative music in Korea has also developed an increasing web of international connections.

Research supervision

I am happy to supervise a wide spectrum of topics related to contemporary Korean literature, culture and society as well as issues in the literary translation of Asian languages into English.

Currently has students working on:

Multicultural policy in South Korea

Major achievements

  • 2009-2012 Marsden Fund Research Project - Korea and Its Neighbours: Globalisation and National Identity in the 21st Century.
  • 2011 VUW Research Excellence Award
  • 2006 Daesan Foundation Translation Grant for the translation of Park Wan-suh's Who Ate Up All the Shinga?
  • Co-producer of Our Nation: A Korean Punk Rock Community, with Timothy Tangherlini, Traumatic Productions, 2001, New York, Filmmakers Library. Official Selection at numerous film festivals and conferences: Sonatrope, Hong Kong (2007); Amplitude, Sao Paolo, Brazil (2006); Austin Asian Film Festival, Austin TX (2005); International Festival of Cinema and Technology, Lost Film Festival, Philadelphia (2004); UCLA Vitas Film and Folklore (2004); University of Kansas, East Asia Film Festival (2004); Night of Ghouls, Reykjavik, Iceland (2003); Washington DC Underground Film Festival (5/03); Chicago Underground Film Festival (2002); INDIE 2002, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2002); Chicago Asian American Showcase (2002); Johns Hopkins Film Festival (2002); 9th Annual New York Underground Film Festival (2002); Association for Asian Studies Conference (2002); First International Korean Punk Rock Film Festival, Seoul, Korea (2001).

Teaching interests

I enjoy teaching in a wide variety of topics in Asian Studies, and take particular pleasure in using the possibilities of new information technologies to open up perspectives on important issues in contemporary Asian society.

Contemporary Asian literature, society and popular culture.

Selection of recent publications

Books

  • Telegram by Putu Wijaya, Lontar Foundation: Jakarta, 2011.
  • Complicated Currents: Media Flows, Soft Power and East Asia (co-edited with Alison Tokita and Daniel Black), Monash University Publications: Melbourne, 2010.  
  • The Long Road by Kim In-Suk, MerwinAsia: Portland, Maine, 2010.
  • Who Ate Up All The Shinga? by Park Wan-suh, (critical introduction, and co-translation with Yu Young-nan), Columbia University Press: New York, 2009.

Articles and Chapters

  • “Now on My Way to Meet Who? South Korean Television, North Korean Refugees and the Dilemmas of Representation” (co-authored with Christopher K. Green), Asia-Pacific Journal Vol. 11, Issue 41, No. 2, October 14, 2013.
  • "Multiple Exposures: Korean Bodies and the Transnational Imagination” (with Rachael M. Joo), The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol.10, Issue 33, No. 1, August 13, 2012.
  • “ ‘Geu manhdeon singaneun nuga da meogeosseulkka: ’ haeseol - naedabogi wa dulyeodabogi: myeot myeot gaeinjeogin gieokdeul [Reading Who Ate Up All the Shinga? Inside-Out and From the Outside In: Some Personal Reflections]” in Park Wan-suh, Geu manhdeon singaneun nuga da meogeosseulkka, Bak Wanseo Soseol Jeonjip, [Who Ate Up All the Shinga? The Complete Fictional Works of Park Wan-suh], vol. 19, Segyesa Press, 2012, pp. 285-301 (in Korean).
  • “Daughter of the Wind: The Travel Writing of Han Biya,” Seoul Journal of Korean Studies 24.2 (December 2011), pp. 295-319.
  • “Korean Youth Netizenship and its Discontents” (co-authored with Sun Jung), Media International Australia 141 (November 2011), pp. 78-86.  
  • “The True Origins of Pizza: Irony, the Internet and East Asian Nationalisms” (co-authored with Rumi Sakamoto), The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 9, Issue 44 No 5, October 31, 2011.
  • “From Russia With Love: Contemporary South Korean Images of Russia”, in Proceedings of the 25th AKSE Conference, Volume 2, 2011, pp. 529-535.    
  • “J-Pop, K-Pop, and Transnational Reconciliation” in Korean Studies in Shift: PACKS 2010 Proceedings, ed. by Changzoo Song, 2011, Auckland: New Zealand Asia Institute, pp. 73-86.  
  • “Introduction: Understanding Indonesia”,Journal of Indonesian Social Sciences and Humanities 3 (2010): 1-9.
  • "Distant Land, Neighbouring Land: Japan in Contemporary South Korean Discourse", Complicated Currents: Media Flows and Soft Power in East Asia, eds. Daniel Black, Stephen Epstein and Alison Tokita, Monash University Publications, Melbourne, 2010, 1.1-1.15. 
  • "The Axis of Vaudeville: Images of North Korea in South Korean Pop Culture" The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol.10-2-09, March 7, 2009.