Rachael Miyung Joo, Associate Professor in American Studies, has been teaching at Middlebury College since 2007. She received her B.A. from Pomona College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Cultural and Social Anthropology from Stanford University. She teaches courses on race, nationalism, immigration, globalization, food, and sports.
Her research focuses on the transnational circulation of mass media, specifically on how sporting media connects South Korean and Korean American communities. Her book, Transnational Sport: Gender, Media and Global Korea (Duke University Press, 2012), details the significance of sports in shaping ideas of nation in transnational Korean/American communities. She edited with Shelley Lee, A Companion to Korean American Studies (Brill 2018). She has published articles on sports and national publics, bodies and media, sports and sexuality, and food. Her current research investigates the cultural politics around golf, specifically the connections between mass-mediated desires, built landscapes, national development, ideas of self and nature, and race relations.
In this course we will trace American immigration history from the late 19th to the turn of the 21st century, and examine the essential place immigration has occupied in the making of modern America and American culture. The central themes of this course will be industrialization and labor migrations, aftermaths of wars and refugees, constructions of racial categories and ethnic community identities, legal defining of "aliens" and citizenship, and diversity in immigrant experiences. To explore these themes, we will engage a range of sources including memoirs, novels, oral histories, and films.
Formations of Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.
Historical memories, everyday experiences, and possible futures are powerfully shaped by racial and ethnic differences. Categories of race and ethnicity structure social relationships and cultural meanings in the United States and beyond. In this course we will track the theoretical and historical bases of ideas of race and ethnicity in modern America. We will investigate how race and ethnicity intersect at particular historical moments with other forms of difference including gender, sexuality, nation, and class. The course offers an approach informed by critical studies of race including texts in history, political theory, cultural studies, and anthropology. (Critical Race Feminisms) 3 hrs. lect.
In this course we will investigate cultural transformations, cultural politics, and the cultural productions of and about Asian Americans. The themes of immigration, nation, and citizenship are central to the construction of the U.S. racial category of Asian. Those addressed within the category are highly diverse and differentiated along class, gender, and generational lines, yet the racial category structures particular kinds of experiences and possibilities for subjects. Historical transformations and contemporary issues in a variety of Asian American contexts will be investigated through a variety of texts including historical accounts, cultural studies, anthropological studies, autobiography, and fiction. 3 hrs. lect.
Theory and Method in American Studies (Junior Year)
A reading of influential secondary texts that have defined the field of American Studies during the past fifty years. Particular attention will be paid to the methodologies adopted by American Studies scholars, and the relevance these approaches have for the writing of senior essays and theses. (Open to junior American studies majors only.) 3 hrs. lect./disc.
Select project advisor prior to registration.
For students who have completed AMST 0705, and qualify to write two-credit interdisciplinary honors thesis. on some aspect of American culture. The thesis may be completed on a fall/winter schedule or a fall/spring schedule. (Select a thesis advisor prior to registration)
Asian American Food Studies
In this course we will discuss how food shapes a sense of belonging and identity in Asian America. Going beyond how Asian American cultures are consumed through food items and restaurants, we will focus on how Asian Americans have defined themselves through food. Required readings will engage questions about the production, circulation, and consumption of food. We will critically engage the genres of memoir, recipe books, fiction, historical accounts, cultural criticism, and food criticism as we write pieces in each of these styles. There will also be a limited amount of cooking involved in the course.
Cultural Formations of the 1980s
In this course we will investigate cultural formations of the United States during the 1980s through a critical examination of fiction, music, television, art, advertising, and film. We will connect texts produced during and about the period with social, political, and economic transformations that began with the so-called “Reagan Revolution.” Social issues concerning race, class, gender, and sexuality will be analyzed through topics including the Culture Wars, globalization and outsourcing, the ascendance of Wall Street, the rise of AIDS, attacks on the welfare state, the emergence of hiphop, and the War on Drugs 3 hrs. sem.
Global Cities of the United States
In this seminar we will engage the study of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles as "global cities." We will explore each as a site of networks that link populations in the United States to people, things, media, money, and ideas beyond the borders of the nation-state. The principal themes and issues covered during the semester will include the formation of transnational communities, flows of labor and capital cultural production, and religious responses to diaspora. Our interdisciplinary approach to these topics will require students to use methods and theories from both the social sciences and the humanities. 3 hrs. sem.
National Greens: Natures of Koreanness in Golf, Manuscript in Progress
Transnational Sport: Gender, Media, and Global Korea. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012.
Co-edited with Shelley Lee, Companion to Korean American Studies, Brill Series
in American History. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2018.
Co-edited with Sameer Pandya, Amerasia Journal: Special Issue on Sport in
Asian America. 41 no 2 (2015).
Co-authored with Jose Medriano III, “Imperial Greens: Korean Golf in the Philippines,” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (In press).
Co-authored with Stephen Epstein, “Multiple Exposures: Korean Bodies and the Transnational Imagination.” The Asia-Pacific Journal 10, no. 33 (2012): 1–19.
“Consuming Visions: The Crowds of the Korean World Cup,” Journal of Korean Studies 11 (Fall 2006): 41-68.
“Chamoe.” Massachusetts Review 45, no. 3 (2004): 285–94.
“(Trans)national Pastimes and Korean American Subjectivities: Reading Chan Ho
Park,” Journal of Asian American Studies 3, no. 3 (2000): 301-328.
“Debt Forgiveness: Reflections on Asian American Farming from a Farmer’s Daughter,” in Eating More Asian America, edited by Robert Ku, Martin Manalansan, and Anita Mannur, New York: NYU Press, to be published in 2023.
“Sports in Korean America,” in A Companion to Korean American Studies, edited by Rachael Joo and Shelley Lee, 185-206. Leiden: Brill, 2018.
Co-authored with Shelley Lee, “Introduction,” to A Companion to Korean American Studies, edited by Rachael Joo and Shelley Lee. Leiden: Brill, 2018.
“Transnational Sport and Expressions of Global Koreanness,” in Routledge Handbook of Korean Culture and Society, edited by Youna Kim, 297-307. New York: Routledge, 2017.
“The Sports Loyalty Test: Asian Athletes and Asian American Cultural Politics,” in The Routledge Companion of Asian American Studies, edited by Cindy I-Fen Cheng, 198-210. New York: Routledge, 2017.
“Sports, Sex, and Spectatorship: The Transnational Erotics of Korean Athletes.” In Asian American Athletes in Sport and Society, edited by C. Richard King, 86–109. New York, N.Y: Routledge, 2015.
“Toby Dawson”; “Korean Cuisine in America”; “Korean and Korean American Golf”; “Sammy Lee”; “Hines Ward.” In Asian Americans: An Encyclopedia of Social, Cultural, Economic, and Political History, edited by Edward W. Park, and Xiojian Xiao. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2014.
“‘She Became Our Strength’: Female Athletes and (Trans)national Desires”.” In The Korean Popular Culture Reader, edited by Kyung Hyun Kim and Youngmin Choe, 228–48. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2014.
Articles and Reviews
“Review: Memory, Reconciliation, and Reunions in South Korea: Crossing the
Divide, by Nan Kim, The Public Historian 50, no. 2, (May 2018): 162-164.
“Review: Mobile Subjects Boundaries and Identities in the Modern Korean Diaspora, edited by Wen-hsin Yeh,” Pacific Affairs 89, no. 1 (2016): 182–83. https://pacificaffairs.ubc.ca/book-reviews/mobile-subjects-boundaries-a… dentities-in-the-modern-korean-diaspora-edited-by-wen-hsin-yeh/
Co-Authored with Sameer Pandya.“On the Cultural Politics of Asian American Sports.” Amerasia Journal 41, no. 2 (2015): ix–xx.
“Review of Kyǒngju Things: Assembling Place by Robert Oppenheim.” American Ethnologist 36, no. 3 (2009): 604–5.
Public Humanities: News Articles, Blog, and Podcast
“Rachael Joo on South Korean Domination in eSports,”
http://asiaexpertsforum.org/rachael-joo-on-south-korean-domination-in-es ports/. Interview for Asia Experts forum at Claremont McKenna College by Ava Liao. 14 September, 2020.
Co-written with Shelley Lee, “Why Voting for Immigration Reform is Critical for Korean Americans, in Truthout, 26 Oct. 2018. https://truthout.org/articles/why-voting-for-immigration-reform-is-crit…- korean-americans/
“North and South Korea United Under a Single Flag for Games: Can the Olympics Bring about Peace of the Korean Peninsula?” in Public Seminar, 8 Feb. 2018. http://www.publicseminar.org/2018/02/north-and-south-korea-unite-under- a-single-flag-for-games/
Guest on Podcast “Burn it all Down,” Episode 38, The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and the Significance of the Larry Nassar Trial (Trigger Warning). 28 January 2018. https://www.burnitalldownpod.com/episodes/38?rq=38