Field: Korean Literature
Advisor: Theodore Hughes
Jon Kief is a doctoral student in modern Korean literature and comparative intellectual history. His research focuses on 1920s-1950s Korean debates over the proper form and function of “humanist” thought, and he hopes to use these debates’ successive iterations to trace the shifting intellectual currents moving between Korea, Japan, the US, and Europe. Ultimately, his goal is to show how an historical consideration of changing constitutions of “humanity” in Korean discursive practice can help re-embed these contentious decades — often framed in terms of the colonial/postcolonial rupture, the dual Pacific and Korean War divides, and the birth of a new Cold War order — in a more complex narrative linking Korean and transnational intellectual history.