GWIKS Signature Conference: Korean Kinship, Adoption, and Diaspora

GWIKS Signature Conference: Korean Kinship, Adoption, and Diaspora - contains headshots of the speakers, and GWIKS logos

The conference will focus on the complicated and contradictory experiences of Korean adoptees and Koreans in the diaspora. Population movements challenge many of our assumptions about identity and belonging, including the centrality of the state as a primary constituent of identity, and the notion that kinship is a biological or natural phenomenon as opposed to an object of cultural knowledge. The conference reflects on how Koreans outside of Korea, and those who have returned to Korea from other nations, resist some forms of identity and seek to create new, innovative, alternative forms. The participants will also reflect on historical roots of Korean transnational adoptions and the concept of Koreanness as a “race” characterized by homogeneity and sameness. To some extent, the conversation will echo movements in the broader diversity literature on disability and LGBT movements, and other areas of “difference.” Topics to be discussed include: biopolitics, transnationalism, kinship/social organization, multiculturalism, diaspora, civil society, the vexed “nature” of transnational adoption.


  • Eleana Kim, University of California, Irvine
  • Sun Hee Engelstoft, Film Director based in Copenhagen
  • Susie Woo, California State University, Fullerton
  • Todd Henry, University of California, San Diego


  • Richard Grinker, the George Washington University


Sponsored by GW Institute for Korean Studies