Visiting Assistant Professor of Korean
Asian Languages and Civilizations

Education: Cornell University BA; Rutgers University MA; University of California, Irvine, PhD

Sue Heun Kim Asokan received a BA in Art History from Cornell University, an MA in Art History from Rutgers University, and a PhD in East Asian Studies from the University of California, Irvine. Her doctoral dissertation, Breaking the Retrospective Curse: Ethical Identity in Korean Film and Literature, examines narratives of sacrifice and redemption in South Korean cinema and literature. The project studies sacrificial heroes, such as the selfless mother, the dutiful patriot, or the sovereign savior in order to explore the nation’s shifting moral code as it interacts with broader dimensions of history, memory, and ethics. In addition to revising this dissertation for publication, she is working on two other projects. The first investigates the utilitarian valuation of death in Korean contemporary action films, while the second involves compiling and translating testimonies from WWII “comfort women.”  


“The “Good” Mother’s Self(ish)-Sacrifice: Violence, Redemption, and Deconstructed Ethics in Bong Joon-ho’s Mother,” Korea Journal 61, no.3 (Fall 2021, forthcoming) 

“Giving Death: The Hero as Sovereign Utility in Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer,” The Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema. (under second round review) 


Co-editor and translator (joint project between UCI and Seoul National University), History Rewritten through Memory: Volume 4, Seoul: Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, 2019.

Co-translated with Kyung Hyun Kim. “A Journal from the Alpha-Omega Kosiwon.” By Park Min-Gyu. Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature and Culture 11, Cambridge: Korea Institute, Harvard University, 2018, 121-146.

“Zero Cartoons in Myanmar Daily Newspapers.” By Maw Zong. International Forum of Editorial Cartoons 2 (May 2012): 21-24.

Research Interests

Modern Korean history and literature, East Asian popular culture, film and media studies, affect and ethics, transnational studies.