Shinjung Nam

ShinjungShinjung Nam has been tracing the recent politicization of education from above and below in South Korea. In addition to the political implications of South Korean state’s transition to a knowledge-based economy post 2000 and shrinking humanities disciplines within the country’s universities, Shinjung looks at the emergence of informal schools for philosophy, organized outside of official academia by financially precarious philosophers for a wider public. In particular, she engages social theories of the state, ritual politics, reading, fetishism, and power to examine how non-traditional adult-students, who attend these schools after work in the evenings, mediate what are doubly foreign textual corpus, namely, the academic Korean-language translations of Western philosophy and their philosopher-lectors, accredited by European higher educational institutions to exercise their authority to read. By attending to the question of the relationship between diverse forms of collective study, imagination of agency, and (trans)formation of national and cosmopolitan subjectivity, Shinjung is also building archives for her future research on studious mothers coalesced against the lack of state measures for so-called "killer dust" contamination in South Korea as well as on the rising phenomenon of “para-academic” kung-fu (i.e., “study”) societies in mainland China that read Western philosophy outside of official education system.