Nancy A Abelmann

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Content Section 1

Professor of Asian American Studies, Anthropology, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Gender and Women's Studies, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, EUI, and Center for Global Studies

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Contact Information:

  • Address:
    Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
    418 Swanlund Administration Building,
    601 East John St.
    M/C 304
    Champaign, Illinois 61820
  • Telephone: (217) 244-1867 Fax: (217)244-3716
  • Email:
  • CV: Download my C.V.


Abelmann is Associate Vice Chancellor for Research (Humanities, Arts and Related Fields) and the Harry E. Preble Professor of Anthropology, Asian American Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She writes on family, class, gender, education, and migration with a focus on South Korea and Korean/Asian America. Abelmann co-directs the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI, and served as the director of the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies from 2005-2008. She has published books on social movements in contemporary South Korea; women and social mobility in post-colonial South Korea; Korean America; and South Korean film; and most recently, The Intimate University: Korean American Students and the Problems of Segregation (Duke University Press, 2009). She is a co-editor of No Alternative? Experiments in South Korean Education (Berkeley: Global, Area, and International Archive / University of California Press, 2012) and of South Korea’s Education Exodus: The Life and Times of Early Study Abroad, forthcoming from the University of Washington Press. With psychologist Sumie Okazaki she is completing Making Family Work: How Korean American Teens and Parents Navigate Immigrant America based on field and survey research in Chicagoland. With Soo Ah Kwon, Tim Liao, and Adrienne Lo, she co-directs The American University Meets the Pacific Century research laboratory, a collaborative project on the internationalization of the undergraduate student body at the University of Illinois. She is also the PI of an Academy of Korean Studies-funded Laboratory for the Globalization of Korean Studies, The Korean Family in Comparative Perspective.


Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • East Asia
  • Sociocultural Anthropology
  • Transnational/Diaspora
  • U.S./North America
  • Korea, Japan, Asian America, class, in

Office Hours

  • On Leave



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Book Contributions

  • "Undergraduate Korean Americans and “Korean Koreans” in the Millennial American University." Koreans in America: History, Culture and Identity. . San Deigo: Cognella Academic Publishing, 2012.

  • Abelmann, Nancy. "Undergraduate Korean Americans and “Korean Koreans” in the Millennial American University." Koreans in America: History, Culture and Identity. . Ed. Grace J. Yoo. Cognella Academic Publishing, 2012.

Edited Books

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Journal Articles

  • "A Fraught Exchange? U.S. Media on Chinese International Undergraduates and the American University." Journal of Studies in International Education (2013):
  • "Defending South Korean Education Migration Mothers and Humanizing Global Children: Memoir/Manuals of Pre-College Study Abroad." Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs (2013):
  • "The New (Korean) Wave: A Global Social Mobility Story – Please Look After Mom." Korea Observer 43.3 (2012):
  • Kang, Jiyeon, and Nancy Abelmann. "The Domestication of South Korean Pre-College Study Abroad (PSA) in the first Decade of the Millennium." Journal of Korean Studies 16.1 (2011):
  • Kang, Hyeyoung , Sumie Okazaki, Nancy Abelmann, Chu Kim-Prieto, and Shanshan Lan. "Redeeming Immigrant Parents: How Korean American Emerging Adults Reinterpret Their Childhood." Journal of Youth and Adolescence (2010): 1-24.
  • Abelmann, Nancy, So Jin Park, and Hyunhee Kim. ""College Rank and Neoliberal Subjectivity in South Korea: The Burden of Self-Development"." Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 10.2 (2009): 229-247.
  • Abelmann, Nancy, Susan Davis, Cara Finnegan, and Peggy Miller. "What is StoryCorps, Anyway?." Oral History Review 36.2 (2009): 255-260.
  • Abelmann, Nancy, and Shanshan Lan. ""Christian Universalism and U.S. Multiculturalism: An "Asian American" Campus Church"." Amerasia 34.1 (2008): 65-84.
  • Abelmann, Nancy, Gina Hunter, Timothy R. Cain, Tim McDonough, and Catherine Prendergast. ""Interrogating the University, One Archival Entry at a Time"." Change: The Magazine of Higher Education (2008):
  • Abelmann, Nancy, Sumie Okazaki, and E.J.R. David. ""Colonialism and Psychology of Culture"." Social and Personality Psychology Compass (2007):
  • Abelmann, Nancy, and Catherine Prendergast. ""Alma Mater: College, Kinship, and the Pursuit of Diversity"." Social Text 24.1 (2006): 37-53.
  • Park, So Jin, and Nancy Abelmann. "Class and cosmopolitan striving: Mothers' management of English education in South Korea." Anthropological Quarterly 77.4 (2004): 645-672.

Special Issues of a Journal

  • "Introduction." Korean Ethnography. Spec. iss. of Journal of Korean Studies (2012):