Jesook Song


On Leave

July 01, 2021 to December 31, 2021
AP 202
(416) 946-3587


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

Research Keywords: Socio cultural anthropologist of contemporary urban transformation and welfare issues including homelessness, youth unemployment, single women’s housing, and psychological health support system

Research Region: East Asia, particularly South Korea


Jesook Song received her B.A. in Education Science at the Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology with a minor degree in Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA. She is currently researching and writing a book on labor, welfare, and money primarily based on the contexts of South Korea, but not limited to.


PhD, 2003, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Major Awards and Grants

The Academy of Korean Studies Competitive Research Grant (2018-2019) on Marriage Migration and Foreign Aid through the Case of Korea-Vietnam Relations (in collaboration with Dr. Hyeseon Jeong)

SSHRC Insight Grant (2016-2021) on Financial Techniques in the Everyday Life on the Urban Working Poor

Bridge Fund (2015) by Faculty of Arts and Science and Department of Anthropology on Financial Techniques in the Everyday Life on the Urban Working Poor

The Academy of Korean Studies Competitive Research Grant (2012-2013) on Speculative Practices and Their Impacts on Household Management.

The Academy of Korean Studies Distinguished Paper Award (2010) “Between Flexible Life and Flexible Labor: The Inadvertent Convergence of Socialism and Neoliberalism in South Korea” Critique of Anthropology. 29(2): 139-159.

SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2008-2012) on The Psychological Health Care System for People without Family Support in South Korea.

Korea Foundation Advanced Research Grant (2008-2009) for writing a book manuscript on family-independent women and housing in South Korea.

Connaught New Staff Matching Fund (2005-2007) on Family-Independent Women in South Korea.

The Academy of Korean Studies Award on the Encouragement of Research for an excellent journal publication (2007) “Family Breakdown and Invisible Homeless Women” in positions: east asia cultures critique 14(1):37-65.

American Anthropological Association The Sylvia H. Forman Prize, the best graduate essay in feminist anthropology (2002).


2019 On the Margins of Urban South Korea: Core Location as Method and Praxis. Co-edited with Laam Hae, Toronto: University of Toronto Press 

2018 “Breaking Down Boundaries and Forging New Paths: The Living Memory of Nancy Abelmann” co-edited with Eleana Kim Journal of Asian Studies 77(4)

2017 “Gendered Care Work as “Free Labor” in State Employment: School Social Workers in the Education Welfare (Investment) Priority Project in South Korea” Journal of Asian Studies. 76(3): 751-768

2014 Living on Your Own: Single Women, Rent Housing, Post-Revolutionary Affect in Contemporary South Korea, Albany: SUNY Press

2013 “Governmental Entanglements: The Ambiguities of Progressive Politics in Neoliberal Reform in South Korea” in Global Future in East Asia Stanford: Stanford University Press

2012 “Korea Through Ethnography” Special issue of Journal of Korean Studies, Volume 17, Issue 2, co-edited with Nancy Abelmann

2012 “Positioning Asia in a Global Future?: An Example through Rethinking Finance” in special issue of “Twenty Years After” positions: asia critique 20(1): 173-182

2011 “Situating Homelessness in the Post-Developmental Welfare State: The Case of South Korea”  Urban Geography 32(7): 972-988

2010  New Millennium South Korea: Neoliberal Capitalism and Transnational Movements. ed. by Jesook Song London: Routledge.

2010  Gender and Class in Korea and Japan: Sexing Class (edited by Ruth Barrachlough and Elyssa Faison, Routledge, 2009), Pacific Affairs 83(4): 799-800.

2010  Welfare Reform and Sexual Regulation (by Anna Marie Smith, Cambridge University Press, 2007) to Feminist Review, 95: 16-18

2010  ‘A Room of One’s Own’: The Meaning of Spatial Autonomy for Unmarried Women in Neoliberal South Korea. Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 17(2): 131-149

2009  Between Flexible Life and Flexible Labor: The Inadvertent Convergence of Socialism and Neoliberalism in South Korea. Critique of Anthropology. 29(2): 139-159

2009  South Korea in the Debt Crisis: The Creation of a Neoliberal Welfare Society. Durham: Duke University Press.

Graduate Students