[KS] women ph.d.'s in korean history

Yuh Ji-Yeon j-yuh at northwestern.edu
Tue Jan 18 13:22:35 EST 2005

Dear members,

Studies done by academic organizations have found that women in general are 
very underrepresented in academia. While they may be plentiful as graduate 
students (and this seems to vary depending on the field and whether one is 
talking about master's programs or doctoral programs), their numbers 
gradually decrease as one goes up the academic ladder. There are more women 
in non-tenure-track teaching jobs (lecturers, adjuncts), fewer women as 
assistant professors, and even fewer women in tenured positions. There also 
seems to be a correlation with institutional size and stature -- overall, 
elite private research universities have low proportions of tenured women, 
even if they have high levels of women graduate students or women 
lecturers, or even tenure-track women faculty. I know of many history 
departments struggling with issues of underrepresentation of women as 
faculty members and as graduate students. Although there may be some 
institutions that buck the trend, every study I've ever seen has shown 
significant underrepresentation of women.

What I know of Korean Studies does not indicate to me that the field bucks 
the trend in any way, except perhaps in numbers of graduate students. While 
it's clear that women have made strides and women are visible in Korean 
Studies, it also seems equally clear that there is a long way to go, not 
only in Korean Studies, but in academia as a whole.

If anyone is curious about the status of women faculty as revealed in 
statistics, there are several articles in the Chronicle of Higher 
Education, and it is likely that the main organization in your particular 
discipline has already conducted a study.

The question of whether or not women are discouraged from entering and 
succeeding in academia is harder to assess, altho there is plenty of 
anecdotal evidence. Whatever discouragement exists, though, is not too 
different from that which exists in American society as a whole. Study 
after study shows that American women are more likely to compromise their 
careers to the needs of their husbands and children, less likely to receive 
mentorship than their male peers, less likely to be promoted, and tend to 
receive significantly lower pay and fewer opportunities for professional 
development, and so forth. Again, this isn't just academia. (It isn't even 
just America -- it's similar in most countries worldwide, some countries 
better, many countries worse.) It seems to be fairly endemic throughout the 
working, wage-earning world. The lack of affordable, quality child-care, 
consistent male reluctance to take responsibility for housework and 
child-rearing, and female reluctance to insist on male responsibility 
remain significant factors holding women back. And please, do not post your 
anecdotes about the wonderful husband and father or the strong woman who's 
in charge, or even better, the genuinely equitable couple. We all know they 
exist, and more power to them. They remain, however, the exception rather 
than the rule.


At 01:32 AM 2005.01.18, you wrote:

>Dear members,
>I am writing to make a correction about my phd background that Mark 
>Peterson just commented on. I did not get a Phd in Korean history at all. 
>Though Professor Wagner was initially on my committee, he did not read my 
>dissertation at the end. My degree was in Anthropology with a subfield in 
>East Asian Archaeology at Harvard under K.C.Chang.
>As for the issue of the perceived lack of women in Korean history fields, 
>Ilike Charles in recent years in the U.S. at least (having read hundreds 
>of proposals for fellowship applications as a CKS member), I was also 
>under the impression that there are many women at least in graduate school 
>at the MA level (this is the same in South Korea too), though very few 
>have landed tenure track jobs yet and at present only a handful are 
>tenured in any field.
>When I was a history undergraduate student at Sogang, the Korean 
>professors including eminent scholars such as Yi Ki-baek and Yi Kwang-rin 
>were very frank in advising me to not even bother to apply to Sogang 
>graduate school. They told me personally that it was a waste of their time 
>and effort to train women when the majority of them get married and leave 
>the field. Their discouraging remarks actually pushed me to find a program 
>in America that would be more hospital to women. So there are many 
>factors, both cultural and institutional involved in why we do not see 
>more women in academia who go on to professional careers. But, I believe 
>there has been a gradual change in Korea as well. For example, in the 
>field of art history, I see many more capable women out there delivering 
>papers abroad and getting jobs though as been pointed out by others, many 
>are still junior professors.
>But, this is a good sign at least that they are getting tenure track jobs 
>which is a positive step forward. So I would encourage women to apply to 
>Korean programs. Even if you do not end in up in academia, learning East 
>Asian languages and studying history is always a good background for 
>finding jobs even in business or going on to law school. So, it is 
>definitely worth your while
>  cra10 at columbia.edu wrote:
>Dear all,
>One slight correction to Mark's note: the junior position in UCLA is
>a female graduate of Chicago, not UW (Namhee Lee). As for grad
>students, I don't know about other institutions, but at Columbia
>the ratio of students in Korean history and literature is grossly
>imbalanced in favor of females. Of the twenty or so graduate
>students in Korean Studies in the the departments of East Asian
>Languages and Cultures and in History, only 4 are male. So if
>Columbia is at all representative, the next generation of Korean
>history and literature professors will be mostly women. But I'd be
>curious to hear how the gender balances of graduate populations are
>in other Korean Studies programs.
>Charles Armstrong
>Associate Professor of History
>Columbia University
>Quoting Mark Arlen Peterson :
> > Greetings all,
> >
> > Concerning Ms. Palmers note:
> >
> > If we look at the question of gender balance in Korean Studies --
> > more broadly than Korean history -- it looks a little better,
> > well, .... in some ways. It's certainly more complex.
> >
> > First, in regard to history, Martina Deuchler has retired but is
> > still working and writing. The Korean history positions at
> > Harvard (Kim Sun Joo, as mentioned) and at UCLA and the
> > University of Utah are all held by UW female PhD. Harvard has
> > given PhD's in history to Susan Shin and Sherry McCullough as
> > well as Martina Deuchler. Hesung Koh has worked in history, but
> > I'm not sure what her PhD was in. Law? Legal history?
> > Anthropology? Pae Hyungil at UC Santa Barbara has a PhD in
> > history/archaeology from Harvard. At at Columbia, we must cite
> > ChaHyun Kim-Haboush as a major figure at a major institution.
> >
> > If we look at language teaching, the opposite imbalance is
> > obvious -- more females. At AATK meetings (American Assocation
> > of Teachers of Korean) there are very very few male teachers.
> > Linguistics PhD's go disproportionately to females, it appears,
> > with major positions at George Washington and UCLA held by women.
> >
> > Political Science is really lopsided on the male side. I think
> > there is only one practicing female PhD in political science.
> > Here there may be grounds for complaining, but maybe not in
> > history.
> >
> > Anthropology has more females, Laurel Kendall, Linda Lewis, and
> > if we include ethnomusicology, Hillary Finchum at ICC in San
> > Francisco, there are perhaps more females in this field than
> > males. ???
> >
> > Literature is fairly evenly balanced, isn't it?
> >
> > So, Ms. Palmer, there may be an imbalance in Korean history but
> > the wider field of Korean Studies is closer to the golden mean.
> > At least, that is this observer's cursory conclusion.....
> >
> > with best regards,
> > Mark Peterson
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: karen palmer
> > To: Korean Studies Discussion List
> > Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 11:53:16 -0800 (PST)
> > Subject: [KS] women ph.d.'s in korean history
> >
> > It appears that the field of Korean history in terms of academic
> > positions held and even in numbers of Ph.D.s granted is heavily
> > male-dominated. Wasn't Kim Sun Joo the first female Ph.D. to come
> > out of the University of Washington, and isn't that a bit of a
> > late start in encouraging female scholars in this area? In my
> > opinion, it's a loss to the overall quality and scope of
> > academic research in history when women's voices are left out. It
> > would be strange to assume there were no women capable of or
> > interested in a particular subfield of history while overall
> > women have come to outnumber men in Ph.D.s granted in humanities
> > and social sciences. Although it involves the study of several
> > languages, Korean history is not rocket science, and women do not
> > generally self-deselect in these areas.
> >
> > In contrast to the University of Washington, which academic
> > institution has shown a better track record in terms of
> > encouraging female scholars, and what are the numbers and ratios
> > involved?
> >
> > Karen Palmer
> > (prospective graduate school applicant in korean history)
> >
> > caprio wrote:
> > You should look at Kim Sun Joo's dissertation.
> > I do not have the title with me but she looked
> > at the 1812 rebellion and talks about discrimination.
> > It was completed in 2000 at the University of Washington.
> >
> > Good Luck,
> >
> > Mark Caprio
> > Rikkyo University
> >
> >
> > ---------------------------------
> > Do you Yahoo!?
> > All your favorites on one personal page $Bo?>B(BTry My Yahoo!
> >
> >
> >
> >
>Hyung Il Pai
>Japan Foundation Research Fellow 04-5
>Visiting Professor, Kyoto University Department of Archaeology
>Graduate School of Letters and Science
>Yoshida Campus, Honmachi, Sakyo-ku
>Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
>Office Tel: 075-753-2794, fax: 075-753-2799
>Do You Yahoo!?
><http://bb.yahoo.co.jp/>Upgrade Your Life

Yuh, Ji-Yeon
Assistant Professor of History
Associate Director of Asian American Studies
Northwestern University
Harris 202
1881 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208 USA
j-yuh at northwestern.edu
fax: 1-847-467-1393
[The Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea---<www.asck.org> ]
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