Jennifer Chun, associate professor of Asian American studies and member of the UCLA International Institute’s teaching faculty, brings an interesting perspective and skill set to her work as a scholar: the methodological training of a sociologist, deep knowledge of the U.S. and South Korean labor movements and significant experience in Asian American community organizing.
A labor scholar who looks at both ends of the Asian American equation — labor organizing in South Korea and elsewhere in Asia, and labor organizing in Asian American immigrant communities — Chun employs an approach that examines how labor, gender, race, class and migration intersect in today’s global economy.
Chun’s interest in the South Korean labor movement and how it was addressing the challenges of precarious employment as a graduate student at Berkeley. That interest soon prompted a curiosity about the U.S. labor movement and how it was dealing with the challenges of a global neoliberal age. She soon became actively involved in the International Sociology Association, where she met international labor scholars exploring similar issues in countries across the world.
These research interests have sparked Chun’s lifelong self-education in Asian studies, starting with learning the Korean language in graduate school. While at Berkeley, Chun also plunged into Asian American community organizing, working throughout graduate school with Asian Immigrant Women Advocates in Oakland to advocate for low-income immigrant Asian women workers.
Chun’s publications include her book “Organizing at the Margins: The Symbolic Politics of Labor in South Korea and the United States,” which examines how low-wage, low-education workers engaged in informal, precarious employment organized to protect their rights in South Korea and the United States. Chun continued to follow labor protests in South Korea after publishing her first book, repeatedly traveling there to interview workers and do fieldwork. Her second book, which she is currently co-writing with colleague Ju Hui Judy Han, assistant professor of gender studies, addresses the public culture of protests in South Korea.
Read the full story here on the UCLA International Institute website.