Hayana Kim

Hayana Kim

research interests:
  • Theatre and Performance Studies
  • East Asian Theatre and Performance
  • Modern Korean Culture
  • Modern South Korean Theatre and Dramatic Literature
  • Women and Activism
  • Ethnography
  • Affect
  • Cultures of Protest, Militarism, and Democracy
  • Digital Activism

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    MSC 1111-107-115
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Hayana Kim is a performance historian of twentieth and twenty-first century South Korea. Her research centers around cultures of democracy in post-Yusin South Korea. Her teaching is at the intersections of East Asian Studies, Asian Diaspora Studies, and Theatre and Performance Studies.

Hayana Kim is an interdisciplinary scholar, whose current scholarship examines the role of affect in South Korean politics, investigating women’s contribution to facilitating a turn from dictatorship to democracy, illuminating especially a history of grassroots arts and activism for the Gwangju Uprising. As a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama at Northwestern University, she is currently completing her dissertation entitled, “Embodying Democracies: The Gwangju Uprising and the Politics of Mourning in South Korea,” which is based on extensive archival and ethnographic research, receiving support from the Mellon/SSRC International Dissertation Research Fellowship (2018-19), Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2020-21), and Global Impacts Graduate Fellowship by the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs at Northwestern University (2021-22, declined). In the fall of 2022, her dissertation will be workshopped with support from the University of Iowa’s Korean Studies Research Network (KoRN), funded by the Korea Foundation.

Four publications based on her research have appeared or will appear in Asian Theatre Journal, a peer-reviewed journal (2021), and in edited collections published with the Cambridge University Press (2020), Chonnam National University (2020, in Korean), and University of Michigan Press (forthcoming). She is also the recipient of awards such as the International Federation for Theatre Research’s Helsinki Prize (2021), Association for Theatre in Higher Education/Association for Asian Performance’s Emerging Scholars Award (2020), and Association for Theatre in Higher Education/Performance Studies Focus Group’s Emerging Scholars Award (2017). Currently, she is the Graduate Student Representative for Association of Asian Performance (2022-24).

Public-facing scholarship is an essential part of her scholarship. In 2014 and 2015, she worked as a research assistant for the National Theatre Company of Korea’s production of Macbeth and King Lear. In 2017, she worked as research assistant for Dr. Dani-Snyder Young for the Chicago-based A-Squared Theatre and Halcyon Theatre’s production of American Hwangap. From 2018 to 2019, during her field research in South Korea, she wrote numerous op-eds and essays in Korean language newspapers and newsletters, giving a talk at the National Assembly, the legislative body of the Korean government, calling for the recognition of women’s contribution to Korean democracy. After returning to the US, she continues to publish both in Korean and in English, intending that her work reaches multilingual readers. She also engages with local communities, speaking, for example, annually at the HANA Center, one of the largest Korean non-profit community organizations in Chicago, sharing her research on cultures of democracy in South Korea. 

Before coming to Washington University, she taught “Asian American Theatre” and “Theatre and Performance in East Asia” in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern. At Washington University, she will teach two courses: In fall 2022, she will teach “Performance as Engagement: Theater, Dance, & Digital Media in Contemporary Korea” in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. In spring 2023, she will teach “Asian and Asian Diasporic Theatre” in the Performing Arts Department.

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

“Performing Democracy on Stage: ToBakYi’s Kumhi’s May and the Politics of Mourning in South Korea,” Asian Theatre Journal 38.2 (Fall 2021), 537-560.

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

“Performing Insurgent Melancholia: The Gwangju Mangwoldong Cemetery as South Korea’s Affective Space for Democracy,” in Reclaiming the City, edited by Se-Mi Oh and Francisco Sanin (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, forthcoming).

Chapters in Edited Volumes (in English and in Korean)

“Reckoning with Historical Conflicts in East Asian Theatre Festivals: The BeSeTo Theatre Festival and the Gwangju Media Arts Festival,” in The Cambridge Companion to International Theatre Festivals, edited by Ric Knowles (Cambridge University Press, 2020), 192-206.

“Myojiesŏ Momŭro Mandŭnŭn Minjujuŭi: Kunsa Tokchaewa Ssaunŭn Kwangjuhangjaengŭi Chesa Aekt'ibijŭm” [Embodying Democracy in the Graveyard: The Gwangju Uprising’s Jesa Activism to Challenge Military Dictatorship], in 5.18kwa Ihu: Palsaeng, Kamŭng, Hwakchang [5.18 and After: Emergence, Reciprocation, and Expansion], edited by Park Gyeong-Seob (Gwangju: Chonnam National University Press, 2020), 137-169.

Book Reviews

Postcolonial Grief: The Afterlives of the Pacific Wars in the Americas by Jinah Kim,” in Situations: Cultural Studies in the Asian Context 13.2 (2020), 205-210.

Courses Taught

  • THEATRE 140-2 Asian American Theatre (Northwestern University, Department of Theatre)
  • THEATRE 240 Theatre and Performance in East Asia (Northwestern University, Department of Theatre)