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View a Japanese version of this announcement.

The Japanese public supports women’s advancement in society, finds the Stanford Japan Barometer, a survey platform launched by the Japan Program at Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC). This result is somewhat surprising, considering Japan’s poor showing in global gender equality rankings.

Led by Professor of Sociology Kiyoteru Tsutsui, the Henri H. and Tomoye Takahashi Professor and director of the Japan Program at APARC, and Charles Crabtree, an assistant professor in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College and a former visiting assistant professor with the Japan Program, the Stanford Japan Barometer (SJB) is a periodic public opinion survey on political, economic, and social issues concerning contemporary Japan with three main parts: (1) questions about respondents’ demographic background; (2) a stable set of questions about support for policy issues, political parties, public institutions, and international entities; and (3) a thematically focused set of questions and experimental studies on topics of great relevance at the time of the survey. The survey is conducted with a national, quota-based sample of 8,000 Japanese residents.

In the first installation of the survey, conducted in late November 2022, the SJB examined issues concerning gender and sexuality in Japan. It found, among other results, that most Japanese are in favor of recognizing same-sex unions and support a legal change to allow married couples to keep separate surnames. The SJB also examined questions related to women’s advancement in Japanese society, the focus of the following report.

One prominent gender equality issue that often recurs in Japanese public discourse is women’s under-representation in prominent positions, especially in politics and business. According to the latest Global Gender Gap Report released by the World Economic Forum, Japan ranks 116th out of 146 countries in terms of gender equality. Japan fares well in the categories of Education and Health, but in Politics and Economy, it ranks 139th and 121st respectively. In another ranking on women’s role and influence in the workforce, the Glass-Ceiling Index compiled by The Economist, Japan ranks second-worst among the 29 developed countries surveyed. Japan barely avoided the lowest ranking (a dubious distinction taken by South Korea), but indeed ranks lowest in terms of the proportion of women in national parliaments (single or Lower House) among OECD countries, with only 10% of Lower House members being female.

To better understand this striking gender disparity, Tsutsui and Crabtree had respondents complete conjoint experiments that examined what types of candidates the Japanese public is more likely to support for a Diet seat and an external corporate board member. The results show, perhaps surprisingly, that Japanese people prefer women for these positions (52% to 48% for the Diet and 51% to 49% for corporate board). Women support female candidates more than men, but men also prefer female candidates over male ones, averaging across all other candidate characteristics such as education and occupational background. These differences are fairly stable across different ages, educational and family backgrounds, and political party support. Contrary to what gender representation in politics and corporate leadership would indicate, the SJB results suggest that there is robust support for women’s representation in those powerful positions across different spectrums of the Japanese public.

Tsutsui and Crabtree also asked a series of questions about views on gender roles and women’s advancement in Japanese society. Respondents were particularly supportive of more men taking parental leave and helping with childcare, registering 6.3 on a scale of 0-10 (5 being neutral and a number larger than 5 indicating support for the statement). They were not supportive of the statements about traditional gender roles, such as “Men should work outside the home and women should stay home” (3.8), or “Boys should be raised to be manly and girls should be raised to be womanly” (4.3). Interestingly, for all these questions, there is a statistically significant difference between male and female respondents, with men showing greater support for traditional gender roles, although the general trend is a shift away from traditional gender roles even among men.

On questions concerning women’s advancement in Japanese society, the Japanese public demonstrated strong support for the argument that more efforts should be made to increase the number of female politicians (5.8), executives (5.9), and board members (5.8). There is no substantial difference between men and women for these questions, indicating that the support for women’s advancement in politics and business is broadly shared across genders.

When it comes to using a quota to ensure women’s seats in the national Diet, management positions, and board rooms, the opinions are divided across the gender line, with women being significantly more supportive (5.1, 5.2, 5.2) than men (4.8, 4.7, 4.7). This likely indicates that men are threatened by the idea of quota as it would reduce the likelihood of their advancement toward these powerful positions.

Men’s resistance to quotas notwithstanding, overall, the Japanese public supports women’s advancement in society, perhaps recognizing the need for Japan to change in light of the embarrassing showing in global rankings of women’s empowerment. These results suggest that the slow pace of change in women’s advancement in Japan might be attributable to the behavior of gatekeepers, who are mostly older men who come from different socioeconomic backgrounds than the SJB’s average survey respondent, rather than to a lack of public support.

For media inquiries about the survey, please reach out to:
Noa Ronkin
APARC Associate Director for Communications and External Relations

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Contrary to current levels of women’s under-representation in leadership positions in Japan, the Stanford Japan Barometer, a new periodic public opinion survey co-developed by Stanford sociologist Kiyoteru Tsutsui and Dartmouth College political scientist Charles Crabtree, finds that the Japanese public favors women for national legislature and corporate board member positions.

Shorenstein APARC
Stanford University
Encina Hall, E301
Stanford,  CA  94305-6055

Visiting Scholar at APARC, 2022-23

Dr. Ankhbayar Begz joined the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) as visiting scholar for the fall and winter quarter of the 2022-2023 academic year. Dr. Begz currently serves as researcher at Mongolian University of Science and Technology's Open Education Center. While at APARC, he conducted research regarding democracy, women’s political participation, higher education, and gender equality issues in Mongolia and Asia.

Gi-Wook Shin
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This essay originally appeared in Korean on June 16 in Sindonga (New East Asia), Korea’s oldest monthly magazine (established 1931), as the third in a monthly column, "Shin’s Reflections on Korea." Translated by Raymond Ha. A PDF version of this essay is also available to download.

“What is it that Korean entertainment has brought? It’s the greatest example of providing something to the market that doesn’t exist, and it’s what I call ‘female gaze’ entertainment.”

On May 19, the Korea Program at Stanford University hosted a conference to celebrate its 20th anniversary. During a panel discussion on the “Korean Wave” (Hallyu), Angela Killoren, the CEO of CJ ENM America, asserted that Korean content garnered global popularity because it satisfied the interests of female consumers. “Hollywood . . . is very male gaze driven,” she noted, while Korean music and dramas “rekindle a sense of romance” and tend to be told from a female perspective. Women are marginalized in patriarchal cultures, and young women in particular have responded enthusiastically to content that resonates with them.

The next day, South Korea’s newly elected President Yoon Suk-Yeol held his first summit meeting with President Joe Biden in Seoul. At the joint press conference following the summit, a reporter with the Washington Post asked President Yoon about the lack of women among his Cabinet nominees. This was a piercing question for President Yoon, who is already seen as an “anti-feminist” by foreign observers.[1] His discomfort at the question was palpable. Of 19 Cabinet nominees, including the prime minister, he had nominated only three women. Among his vice ministers and vice-ministerial appointees, only two out of 41 were women.

Why Diversity Matters

There was widespread public criticism about the overrepresentation of a specific group of individuals among Yoon’s appointees: men in their 50s and 60s who had graduated from Seoul National University.[2] In response, the administration stated that it had selected the most qualified and experienced individual for each position. The Democratic Party of Korea, the leading opposition party, criticized Yoon’s Cabinet appointments for being imbalanced in terms of policy preferences, alma maters, and regional backgrounds. The opposition Justice Party similarly rebuked the skew toward men from Gyeongsang Province in their 60s.[3]

The “female gaze” that propelled the Korean Wave was not the outcome of a strict meritocracy, and it did not arise from efforts to achieve balanced representation. It resulted from looking beyond the horizon of male-centered viewpoints to value female perspectives.
Gi-Wook Shin

Interestingly enough, both sides interpret this as a question of representation. Those who emphasize meritocracy argue that allocating seats to account for the representation of minorities makes it difficult to achieve results. On the other side, those who criticize the lack of diversity support a balanced composition in terms of gender and regional background, among other considerations. Such focus on “balance” and “representation” limits the discussion. Let us return to Killoren’s explanation for the astonishing global success of the Korean Wave. The “female gaze” that propelled the Korean Wave was not the outcome of a strict meritocracy, and it did not arise from efforts to achieve balanced representation. It resulted from looking beyond the horizon of male-centered viewpoints to value female perspectives.

A diverse group of individuals brings a diversity of opinions to the table. The true strength of diversity, however, is that it encourages people to think outside the box. When people encounter and evaluate different viewpoints and alternatives, this fosters creative, original thinking that drives innovation. Organizations and institutions can thus enhance their overall performance by building a diverse workforce.

South Korea is a patriarchal, “super-networked” society that emphasizes ethnic homogeneity and purity. High value is placed on common alma maters, shared regional backgrounds, and family ties. There is a dire need to enhance appreciation for the value of diversity.
Gi-Wook Shin

Ensuring the equitable representation of minorities and protecting their rights is, of course, a fundamental democratic value and a vital policy objective. Nevertheless, it is now time to approach the issue of diversity not only in terms of balanced representation, but also as a question of effectiveness and innovation. It is especially important to ensure diversity within entities like the Cabinet, which requires a high level of intellectual capacity and judgment.

South Korea is a patriarchal, “super-networked” society that emphasizes ethnic homogeneity and purity. High value is placed on common alma maters, shared regional backgrounds, and family ties. There is a dire need to enhance appreciation for the value of diversity. The era of industrialization called for a homogeneous workforce capable of producing uniform, standardized products. In this context, diversity could hamper efficiency. The new era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, built on creativity and innovation, will increasingly require a rather heterogeneous workforce. Diversity should be recognized as an essential virtue that underlies innovation and success. The future belongs to societies and organizations that understand the true value of diversity.

From Representation to Innovation

In the United States, diversity is one of the most important considerations not only in companies’ hiring decisions, but also when colleges and universities hire professors or admit students. Pursuing diversity was once regarded as a means of empowering minority groups by ensuring that they had access and representation. However, it is now commonly understood that an organization’s capabilities and achievements cannot be maximized without diversity. There are many ways to achieve diversity. A range of factors is considered, including race and ethnicity, age, gender, personal background, and past experiences. It is believed that an organization can overcome groupthink and dismantle a rigid internal culture only if it is composed of diverse individuals. Put differently, innovation and success depend on diversity. Schools, companies, and government entities all have a department that is responsible for improving diversity, and there are many organizations that now have a chief diversity officer (CDO) in addition to a CEO and CFO.

This is a relatively recent phenomenon in American history. As a nation of immigrants, the United States initially pursued assimilation. It only recognized English as the official language. This began to change in the 1960s with the civil rights movement and the emergence of feminism. There were calls to protect and empower minorities and vulnerable groups, and these efforts were also institutionalized. Affirmative action is perhaps the most prominent legacy of this era.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925, introducing affirmative action for federal contractors. Affirmative action sought to proactively counter discrimination by providing preferential treatment to minorities that were disadvantaged on the basis of “race, creed, color or national origin.”[4] There was an initial emphasis on addressing racial discrimination, but this later expanded to countering discrimination on the basis of sex or disability. In essence, this is similar to practices that are well known in Korea: creating quotas for individuals of particular backgrounds and giving extra points in hiring evaluations or admissions decisions. These practices were most commonly used by companies and universities.

Affirmative action has always been controversial in the United States, with opponents calling for its repeal. Some argue that it fails to solve the problem by creating reverse discrimination, while others claim that it generates new forms of discrimination. The former is raised primarily among white men, while the latter is voiced by Asian Americans. It was charged that high school students who worked hard to achieve high scores were disadvantaged in university admissions because schools applied racial quotas. Although the Supreme Court ruled the use of racial quotas in university admissions to be unconstitutional in the Bakke decision (1978), critics allege that prominent universities still maintain tacit quotas for African and Hispanic American applicants. This fall, the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in a case brought mainly by Asian American individuals against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina for the use of “race-conscious” admissions programs.[5]

California, where I have lived for many years, is among the most progressive states in the United States. In 1996, however, it became the first state to vote against affirmative action in a statewide referendum when it passed Proposition 209. I was an assistant professor at UCLA at the time, and I vividly remember many heated discussions and debates about this topic among professors, students, local residents, and civil society organizations.

The controversy surrounding affirmative action in California has persisted. Proposition 16, which sought to repeal Proposition 209, was defeated by a wide margin in November 2020. Even in the United States, there is a fraught conversation about pursuing diversity as a means of achieving equitable minority representation. On the other hand, there is a growing recognition that diversity is essential for organizations to innovate and succeed.

Diversity = Innovation

When I write a course syllabus, I include two components in addition to lecture topics, assignments, and grading policies. First, I pledge to observe the Honor Code, which has a long tradition at Stanford. Under the Honor Code, faculty members do not proctor exams. Second, I vow to “respect diversity.” As a professor, I pledge “my intent that students from all diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and situations be well served by this course,” and I affirm that “the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit.” I emphasize diversity as an essential element that enhances students’ learning experience. Accordingly, I “present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity,” which includes “gender, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, religion, political affiliation, culture, and so on.” Faculty members are encouraged to include such language on diversity in their syllabi, although it is not a requirement. Nevertheless, this practice is becoming increasingly widespread among faculty members.

Major U.S. companies such as Google and Microsoft have appointed chief diversity officers (CDOs) and strive to attract employees of diverse races, socioeconomic backgrounds, and gender identities. Diversity tends to be based on inherent components (e.g., sex and race), but it can also be expanded through acquired components, such as studying abroad and gaining other life experiences. These companies seek various ways to improve diversity. They believe that diversity enhances productivity and allows the company to better respond to changes in the external environment. Melonie Parker, Google’s CDO, describes her mission as making “Google more reflective of the world around us.”[6] There is a firm conviction that creativity and innovation arise when individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences exchange new ideas and perspectives.

In diverse teams, individuals are able to consider and evaluate alternatives and novel points of view. If an organization consists only of people with similar educational backgrounds who think in similar ways, it is unlikely that innovative or unique ideas will ever emerge.
Gi-Wook Shin

“Diversity = Innovation” is not just an article of faith. In the United States, researchers have accumulated a considerable amount of empirical evidence in support of this maxim across a variety of disciplines. Scott E. Page, a professor of complex systems at the University of Michigan, describes in great detail in The Difference (2007) how diversity leads to innovation. According to Page, having a diverse team enables cognitive diversity, which is critical to problem solving. When faced with difficult tasks, cognitive diversity allows the team to perform more capably than the sum of its parts.

In “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter,” Katherine Phillips, the late professor of business management at Columbia University, stresses that diversity makes teams more effective at completing tasks. In diverse teams, individuals are able to consider and evaluate alternatives and novel points of view.[7] If an organization consists only of people with similar educational backgrounds who think in similar ways, it is unlikely that innovative or unique ideas will ever emerge.

At Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, or “the,” which is well known in Korea, diversity is understood as “radical collaboration.” Individuals with different perspectives and experiences collaborate in the classroom and when completing assignments. For instance, a computer science major will work together with a student majoring in the humanities. A prominent example of this way of thought is on display at Stanford’s Institute of Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, where one co-director has a background in computer science, and the other in philosophy.

According to a 2007 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 91% of companies responded that “enhancing the ability of people from different backgrounds to work effectively together” was an “extremely important” outcome of effective diversity management.[8] Catalyst, widely known for its research on the role of women in the workplace, also reported that companies with more women in high-level management positions tend to have transparent management practices and become more profitable through the pursuit of creative business strategies. A 2018 analysis of 1,700 companies by the Boston Consulting Group found that companies with “above-average diversity on their management teams. . . reported innovation revenue that was 19 percentage points higher than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity.”[9]

It is none other than Silicon Valley, the global leader in technological innovation, that best illustrates the relationship between diversity and innovation.

Some in Korea may respond that the United States is unique in its status as a nation of immigrants. Israel offers an illustrative counterexample. Although it has a strong national identity like Korea, it has relied on a diverse talent pool to build a “creative economy.”

Technology as “a Manifestation of a Culture”

“An iPhone is not a product. It’s a manifestation of a culture.”[10] This statement about the iPhone also perfectly encapsulates the ethos of Silicon Valley as a whole. In April 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan visited Stanford and hosted a discussion on technological innovation with the CEOs of major U.S. tech companies, including Apple, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, and Microsoft. I was also there and I noticed something fascinating about the discussion. While Prime Minister Abe focused on the technological aspects of innovation, the leaders of Silicon Valley all emphasized its cultural aspects. Without exception, they began from the premise that innovation was rooted in culture, not technology. At the core of that culture is cultural diversity.

It has already been over 20 years since I joined Stanford and became a resident of the Bay Area. Having grown up in Korea, where I was taught to be proud of the homogeneity and unity of the Korean people, what struck me most about living here is a way of thinking that places great value on cultural diversity. Simply put, Silicon Valley was not built only by white men. Talented individuals of diverse backgrounds came together, competing and cooperating in their endeavors as they created today’s technological landscape. Immigrants laid the foundations for many of the companies that were launched in Silicon Valley, including Intel, Yahoo, Tesla, Google, and Twitter. The cultural diversity that permeates this region can be felt not only through these companies, but also in its schools, shops, and restaurants.

When people of diverse backgrounds and experiences come together, they create original ideas and put forth new perspectives. In turn, this catalyzes technological innovation. This ethos is deeply ingrained in Silicon Valley’s business culture. One often hears that “Silicon Valley is 90% culture and 10% technology.” This is in exactly the same vein as the above quote about the iPhone as “a manifestation of a culture.”

Some in Korea may respond that the United States is unique in its status as a nation of immigrants. Israel offers an illustrative counterexample. Although it has a strong national identity like Korea, it has relied on a diverse talent pool to build a “creative economy.” It created an ecosystem to support entrepreneurship in the technology sector, thereby overcoming tremendous economic difficulties to become a “startup nation” that has attracted global attention. In this process, 850,000 immigrants who arrived after the collapse of the Soviet Union played an important role. Over 40% of these immigrants were professors, scientists, and engineers with ample research experience. Israel proactively incorporated these individuals into its economy and society. It is common to hear multiple languages spoken on the streets of Tel Aviv. The startup nation did not arise out of coincidence.

To be a “first mover” and not just a “fast follower,” having a heterogeneous workforce could prove to be consequential. Korea is the exact opposite. A social and corporate culture that values and enforces conformity surely cannot be a wellspring of creativity and innovation.
Gi-Wook Shin

In the era of industrialization, it was vital to have a workforce capable of making standardized products. Diversity could reduce efficiency. Ernest Gellner, a prominent scholar of nationalism, traced the origins of modern nationalism to the economic needs of industrialization. The mass production of standardized goods necessitated a homogeneous workforce, and the most effective way of creating such a workforce was to cultivate citizens who shared a common national identity. From this perspective, South Korea and Japan were able to achieve rapid economic development through industrialization because they were able to easily form a homogeneous workforce. A strong sense of ethnic homogeneity played a critical role in this process.

In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, however, a country cannot become a leader if it has a homogeneous workforce. To be a “first mover” and not just a “fast follower,” having a heterogeneous workforce could prove to be consequential. Korea is the exact opposite. Everyone seeks to receive the same education and build the same résumé in a race to the same finish line. A social and corporate culture that values and enforces conformity surely cannot be a wellspring of creativity and innovation. Given such a culture, companies, organizations, and institutions will inevitably settle for drifting along, simply going through the motions. Korean society must find a new source of vitality. Enhancing diversity to stimulate innovation and change could be the answer.

Beyond Homogeneity and Assimilation

The most conspicuous examples in Korea of a lack of diversity, and the harmful consequences resulting from it, are the culture of Korean academia and the country’s policy toward immigrants.

According to a 2014 analysis, 84.1% of faculty at Seoul National University (SNU) consist of the school’s own alumni. The figures for Yonsei University and Korea University are 73.9% and 58.6%, respectively.[11] A report on hiring practices for full-time faculty members at SNU between 2012 and 2019 reveals that of 93 departments, 28 departments consist entirely of faculty who are SNU alumni. For another 40 departments, the proportion of SNU alumni exceeds 80%. Many Koreans assume that I received my PhD from Stanford, and they are genuinely surprised when I tell them otherwise. This applies to faculty at Stanford as a whole. There are only a handful of professors who have received their degrees on “The Farm.” When I applied for faculty positions, I followed prevailing norms in the United States by excluding the university that I had graduated from.

In this sense, the United States is the complete opposite of Korea. There is strong opposition to so-called academic inbreeding, and schools strictly limit the hiring of alumni. Unless there are special reasons to do so, alumni are typically not appointed as faculty members. If they are considered as candidates, alumni are subject to a more rigorous review during the hiring process. In most universities, the proportion of alumni among faculty does not exceed 20%. It is uncommon to see professors return to their alma mater. Those who do typically return after many years, having gained broad recognition in their field while teaching and researching at other schools. The kind of homogeneity and academic inbreeding that is common in Korea is unthinkable in the United States.

It is widely accepted in the United States that the harms of academic inbreeding far outweigh any potential benefits. There is even a study that finds that alumni have 15% lower research output than other faculty and are 40% less effective at communicating with their colleagues at other institutions.[12] There is now a critical discussion in Korea about the hiring of alumni as faculty, but it is unclear how much has changed in practice. It should be noted that many Korean academics obtain their PhD overseas before returning to their alma mater. Nevertheless, it is questionable just how much creative intellectual activity can take place in a department filled with fellow alumni. A friend who is not an alum of the school at which he teaches once told me that “if I attend, it’s a faculty meeting, and if I don’t, it’s an alumni gathering.”

Another example is the government’s policy of assimilation, which is carried out under the banner of “multiculturalism.” Starting in the 2000s, a significant number of migrant workers and female “marriage migrants” began to arrive from China, Southeast Asia, and South Asia as South Korea was faced with a plummeting birth rate, an aging population, and a shrinking labor force.[13] In response, the Roh Moo-Hyun administration (2003–08) adopted “multiculturalism” as a major policy initiative. It is remarkable that a country such as South Korea, which built its national identity on ethnic homogeneity, accepted the idea of multiculturalism. Unfortunately, however, the policy has been implemented in a way that departs from the true meaning of multiculturalism. Most government programs and policies are geared toward the assimilation of foreigners into Korean culture.

There are few, if any, efforts to improve the understanding of foreign cultures among Koreans. For instance, there are programs to teach the Korean language and Korean history to a marriage migrant from Vietnam. There are even classes that teach her how to make kimchi. On the contrary, insufficient attention is given to enabling her Korean husband and in-laws to understand and respect Vietnam’s history and culture.

Furthermore, Korea’s policy of multiculturalism predominantly focuses on marriage migrants and low-skilled migrant workers. There is a prevailing tendency to address migrants as a socially vulnerable group that needs to be protected. Migrants who receive “protection” and “benefits” from the government become part of an invisible hierarchy that places them below Korean citizens. This has become ingrained to an extent such that “multiculturalism” has become synonymous with “helping the poor” in the minds of many Koreans. Because such policies give rise to an implicit hierarchy between natives and migrants, they are often not well received by the migrant population. These policies can also instigate anti-migrant sentiment among the Korean public, which creates a conflict between Koreans and those belonging to multicultural families.

In a 2018 analysis, the Software Policy and Research Institute projected that Korea would face a deficit of 31,833 workers by 2022 in core sectors of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, and virtual/augmented reality.[14] This is why major Korean conglomerates, including Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motors, are making a concerted effort to attract foreign talent. From the perspective of foreign workers, however, Korea is not necessarily an appealing destination, given a socioeconomic environment that is still not receptive to diversity. INSEAD ranked Korea 27th out of 134 countries in its 2021 Global Talent Competitiveness Index. In terms of “tolerance of immigrants,” Korea ranked 65th.[15] This is deeply disappointing for a country that now has the 10th largest economy in the world.

Without changes to the socioeconomic environment that immigrants face, it will be nearly impossible for Korea to attract foreign talent. The Ministry of Justice recently announced that it will create a new government agency to oversee immigration issues.[16] However, these institutional measures will not bear fruit until there are efforts to improve public awareness about the importance of ethnic and cultural diversity and how this diversity can spur innovation.

For Korea to take a leap forward, it must demolish the walls of its exclusionary super-networks [...] Diversity should be understood not just as a means to achieve balanced representation, but even more so as an essential ingredient of innovation and success.
Gi-Wook Shin

Demolishing Korea’s “Super-Network”

As I noted in Superficial Korea (2017), Korea is a “super-networked” society. According to one analysis, there are at most 3.6 degrees of separation among Koreans. In a country of over 50 million people, it is possible to connect any two individuals by crossing three or four mutual acquaintances. This is precisely what it means to be super-networked. It is no surprise that Koreans rely so heavily on shared regional backgrounds, alumni connections, and family ties. The denser the connections, the more exclusive and insular each of these groups becomes. Put differently, the barrier to entry becomes insurmountable. As the bonds in the in-group become ever stronger based on shared experiences, hostility toward the out-group intensifies. It is difficult to expect these groups to change. A form of exclusive, group-based behavior has thus emerged in an extremely competitive, super-networked society.

For Korea to take a leap forward, it must demolish the walls of its exclusionary super-networks. In its place, Korea must build a new home that opens its doors to talented individuals with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. This requires Korea to look at diversity in a new way. Diversity should be understood not just as a means to achieve balanced representation, but even more so as an essential ingredient of innovation and success.

During the election campaign, President Yoon Suk-Yeol’s pledge to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family became a political football. Ongoing discussions about the role of this ministry should now move beyond the previous question of how to protect women. By enhancing gender diversity, the government could help transform Korean society by unleashing creativity and innovation. Debates and discussions about specific policies should focus on how to achieve this larger goal.

The Moon Jae-In administration failed to innovate because it relied on a super-network of former pro-democracy activists. President Yoon’s Cabinet appointments, which draw heavily from lawyers and former prosecutors, are raising concerns that this administration could repeat its predecessor’s mistakes by relying on a super-network of prosecutors. The Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Unification; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport; and Ministry of the Interior and Safety are all led by lawyers who studied in the same university (Seoul National University) and department (Law) as the president. Moreover, the prime minister, presidential chief of staff, and minister of economy and finance (who also serves as the deputy prime minister for the economy) are all civil servants who built their careers in the Ministry of Finance.[17]

In response to criticisms about the lack of diversity among high-level appointments, the Presidential Office insisted that it chose the most qualified and experienced individuals. It may be that these individuals are indeed able to work effectively as a team and draw on their skills to quickly achieve significant results in government policy. However, will this be enough for Korea to innovate and forge a path to success in the rapidly changing environment of the Fourth Industrial Revolution? It would be wise to remember that embracing the female gaze enabled the success of the Korean Wave.


[1] For a more detailed discussion of this issue, see Gi-Wook Shin, “In Troubled Waters: South Korea’s Democracy in Crisis,” Shorenstein APARC, May 3, 2022.

[2] A public research university established in 1946, Seoul National University is widely regarded as the most prestigious university in South Korea.

[3] Regional divides are a major fault line in South Korean politics. The rivalry between the Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces is particularly salient.

[5] Adam Liptak and Anemona Hartocollis, “Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge to Affirmative Action at Harvard and U.N.C.,” New York Times, January 24, 2022.

[6] See “Melonie Parker, Chief Diversity Officer,”

[7] Katherine W. Phillips, “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter,” Scientific American, October 1, 2014.

[8] Society for Human Resource Management, 2007 State of Workplace Diversity Management, February 2008.

[9] Rocío Lorenzo et al., “How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation,” Boston Consulting Group, January 23, 2018,

[10] Jay Greene, “Steve Jobs and the business of design,” CNET, October 6, 2011,

[11] Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University are commonly regarded as the three most prestigious universities in Korea. They are often referred to as the “SKY” universities, an acronym based on the first letter of each school.

[12] Hugo Horta, Francisco M. Veloso, and Rócio Grediaga, “Navel Gazing: Academic Inbreeding and Scientific Productivity,” Management Science, 56, no. 3 (March 2010): 414-29.

[13] These “marriage migrant” women typically went to rural areas of South Korea, which saw a gender imbalance as many women moved to cities to find employment.

[14] Lee Dong-Hyun, Huh Jeong, and Kim Jeong-Min, “Labor Market Forecast of Promising SW Areas,” SPRi, April 23, 2018,

[15] The Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2021: Talent Competitiveness in Times of COVID (Fontainebleau, France: INSEAD, 2021),

[16] See, for example, Lee Sung-Eun, “Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon has big immigration ideas,” Korea JoongAng Daily, May 30, 2022,

[17] This is the former title for the Ministry of Economy and Finance. In Korea, this group of civil servants is referred to as the “mofia,” combining the English acronym (MOF) with “mafia.”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the South Korean parliament via video link.

In the Wake of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, Korea Should Join Its Peers in Defending the Liberal International Order

It is difficult to anticipate how the geopolitical storm set off by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may develop. What is certain is that the international order will not be the same, and this change will have significant repercussions for South Korea.
In the Wake of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, Korea Should Join Its Peers in Defending the Liberal International Order
Collage of Soo-Man Lee, SUHO, and Ban Ki-moon speaking at a podium

North Korea’s Geopolitics, South Korea’s Pop Culture Wave Take Center Stage at Korea Program’s 20th Anniversary Conference

The Korea Program at Stanford’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center marked its 20-year anniversary with a two-day conference that gathered eminent leaders from academia, government, and the K-pop industry, including former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and global star SUHO, leader of K-pop group EXO.
North Korea’s Geopolitics, South Korea’s Pop Culture Wave Take Center Stage at Korea Program’s 20th Anniversary Conference
The Gwangju Uprising

Gi-Wook Shin on Gwangju and South Korea’s Democracy

“The tragic outcome was a brutal wakeup call to Korean democratic movements.”
Gi-Wook Shin on Gwangju and South Korea’s Democracy
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A social and corporate culture that values and enforces conformity surely cannot be a wellspring of creativity and innovation. Korean society must find a new source of vitality. Enhancing diversity to stimulate innovation and change could be the answer.


Banner image of APARC May 24 Webinar, center text "How Can Women 'Shine' Brighter in Japan? Gains and Obstacles in Women's Advancement in Japanese Society", with photo of a Japanese woman thinking to the right

May 24, 5:00 p.m - 6:30 p.m. PT / May 25, 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. JT

The advancement of women in the workplace has been an elusive goal in Japan for decades. The shrinking and aging population call for a change in gender expectations that would enable Japan to tap women’s talents for economic growth, but many hurdles continue to block progress in gender equity in the workplace and at home. In this session, two experts who have led the efforts to increase women in leadership positions discuss the accomplishments and future challenges in enhancing gender diversity and inclusion in Japanese organizations. 


Square photo portrait of Mika Nabeshima
Mika Nabeshima has held several global assignments since joining Tokio Marine headquarters in 1991,
She established her career in claims, working with clients to resolve liability and property claims, provide risk management solutions, manage litigation, and fight fraudulent claims.
After seven years at Tokio Marine America, she became general manager of human resources at TMHD in 2019 and then added the role of Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, becoming the company’s first female C-suite officer, in April 2021.

Mika is responsible for Tokio Marine’s global HR strategy, from talent management and development to diversity & inclusion initiatives, governance of group companies, and ensuring the safety of expats around the world.
She graduated from Davidson College (North Carolina) with a B.A. in Political Science in 1991. 


Square photo portrait of Naomi Koshi
Naomi Koshi is a lawyer, an entrepreneur, and former mayor of Otsu City. From 2002 to 2011, Naomi practiced corporate law at Nishimura & Asahi in Tokyo and Debevoise & Plimpton in New York. From 2010 to 2011, Naomi was a Visiting Fellow at Columbia Business School.  In 2012, Naomi was elected mayor of Otsu City and served a total of eight years. As the youngest female mayor, Naomi successfully expanded Otsu's childcare system, thus making it easier for many Japanese women to return to the workforce. Naomi is admitted to practice law in Japan, New York, and California and is now a partner at Miura & Partners. In 2021, Naomi Co-Founded OnBoard K.K., a company specializing in diversifying Japanese corporate boards. Naomi also serves as an outside director of V-Cube, Inc and SoftBank Corp. She holds multiple degrees from Hokkaido University and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School.


Square photo portrait of Kiyoteru Tsutsui
Kiyoteru Tsutsui is the Henri H. and Tomoye Takahashi Professor, Professor of Sociology, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and Deputy Director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, where he is also Director of the Japan Program. He is the author of Rights Make Might: Global Human Rights and Minority Social Movements in Japan (Oxford University Press, 2018), co-editor of Corporate Responsibility in a Globalizing World (Oxford University Press, 2016) and co-editor of The Courteous Power: Japan and Southeast Asia in the Indo-Pacific Era (University of Michigan Press, 2021). 


Square image with Webinar title "How Can Women “Shine” Brighter in Japan?: Gains and Obstacles in Women’s Advancement in Japanese Society", with a photo of a Japanese Woman thinking
This event is part of the 2022 Spring webinar seriesNegotiating Women's Rights and Gender Equality in Asia, sponsored by the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center.

Kiyoteru Tsutsui
Kiyoteru Tsutsui

via Zoom Webinar

Naomi Koshi Partner, Miura & Partners, CEO, OnBoard K.K., Former Mayor of Otsu City
Mika Nabeshima Executive Office and General Manager of Human Resources Dept., Tokio Marine Holdings
Decoupling: Gender Injustice in China's Divorce Courts event image

Using 'big data' computational techniques to scrutinize cases covering 2009–2016 from all 252 basic-level courts in two Chinese provinces, Henan and Zhejiang, Ethan Michelson reveals that women have borne the brunt of a dramatic intensification since the mid-2000s of a decades-long practice of denying divorce requests. This talk discusses key findings from his new book of the same name. Michelson's analysis of almost 150,000 divorce trials reveals routine and egregious violations of China's own laws upholding the freedom of divorce, gender equality, and the protection of women's physical security. Michelson takes the reader upstream to the institutional sources of China's clampdown on divorce and downstream to its devastating and highly gendered human toll, showing how judges in an overburdened court system clear their oppressive dockets at the expense of women's lawful rights and interests.

Portrait of Ethan Michelson
Ethan Michelson is the James and Noriko Gines Department Chair in East Asian Languages and Cultures as well as Professor of Sociology and Law at Indiana University Bloomington, where he has been teaching courses on law and society, law and authoritarianism, and contemporary Chinese society since 2003. He has won several awards for his published research on China’s legal system.

Via Zoom

Ethan Michelson Professor of Sociology and Law, Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, Indiana University Bloomington

This event is made possible by generous support from the Korea Foundation and other friends of the Korea Program.

Gender politics were a front and center issue in South Korea's March 9th presidential election. What does the outsized role that anti-feminism played in electoral politics and public discourse convey about the politics of gender in Korea today? This panel will examine contemporary public perception and institutional tolerance of gender equality in South Korea and provide a historical overview of women's numerical and substantive political representation since women's suffrage in 1948. The panelists will also draw on their experiences conducting multi-country studies to provide comparative regional insight.


Young-Im Lee

Young-Im Lee is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at California State University, Sacramento, where she teaches gender politics and East Asian politics. Her research primarily focuses on gender and elections in South Korea and Taiwan. Dr. Lee is a chief researcher at the Institute of Political Studies at Sogang University in Seoul and was a visiting scholar at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. Her research has been supported by the Academy of Korean Studies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, and the American Political Science Association. Dr. Lee is currently working on a book project analyzing the election and impeachment of South Korea's first female president Park Geun-hye. Her research appeared in Electoral Studies, Politics & Gender, Feminist Media Studies, and Washington Post, among other outlets.

portrait of Min Hee Go

Min Hee Go is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Ewha Woman's University in Korea. Prior to joining Ewha, Dr. Go earned her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2012 and taught as assistant professor at Brooklyn College, the City University of New York. Her research interests broadly concern key issues in diversity and sustainability, including gender and racial inequalities and sustainable development. Her first book, Rethinking Community Resilience: The Politics of Disaster Recovery in New Orleans (2021, NYU Press), investigates how civic capacity may compromise, rather than facilitate, the process of building resilience after crisis. She is currently working on her second book project which examines gender equality in East Asia. Focusing on three democratic countries—Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan— she investigates why Asian countries show different levels of public perception and institutional tolerance on gender equality. 

Moderator: Kelsi Caywood, Research Associate in Korea Program at APARC, Stanford University

Kelsi Caywood
Young-Im Lee <I>Assistant Professor of Political Science</I>, California State University, Sacramento
Min Hee Go <I>Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations</I>, Ewha Woman's University, Korea
Panel Discussions

This event is part of Shorenstein APARC's spring 2022 webinar series, Negotiating Women's Rights and Gender Equality in Asia.

This event is made possible by generous support from the Korea Foundation and other friends of the Korea Program.

Since 2013, women's higher education enrollment rate has outpaced men's enrollment rate in South Korea. Despite this increase in educational attainment, gender inequalities remain deeply rooted in Korean higher education, including gender gaps in STEM, doctoral program enrollment, and faculty diversity. Universities have also fallen short in including gender-related topics in curricular content and ensuring safe campuses for women. The panel will reflect on these educational disparities and the social, cultural, and economic forces shaping Korean women's lives during and after higher education. It will also place Korea's experience in a comparative context by discussing global trends in gender and higher education.


portrait of Namhee Kim

Namhee Kim has a 20-year research and teaching career in higher education in South Korea and the U.S. She is currently an Associate Professor of Education at Ewha Womans University in South Korea. She has previously worked for Korean Education Development Institute and Korean Women’s Development Institute in the areas of education policy development and conducting research on women workforce issues. Her earlier teaching career includes many graduate classes at Texas A & M and Northcentral University in the US. Kim holds a PhD in Education majoring in Adult Education and Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and MEd and BA from Ewha Womans University. Her research interests include women’s career development, critical human resource development, and international education.  

portrait of Christine Min Wotipka

Christine Min Wotipka is an Associate Professor (Teaching) of Education and (by courtesy) Sociology at Stanford University. Her research centers around two main themes examined from cross-national and longitudinal approaches. One line of work seeks to understand how marginalized groups and topics have been incorporated into school textbooks. Another contributes to the comparative scholarship in gender, diversity, leadership, and higher education. Her articles have appeared in Social Forces, Sociology of Education, Gender & Society, American Journal of Education, AERA Open, Journal of LGBT Youth, Comparative Education Review, Compare, Comparative Education, and International Journal of Comparative Sociology. Wotipka earned her BA in International Relations and French at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and MA in Sociology and PhD in International Comparative Education at Stanford University. Between her undergraduate and graduate studies, she proudly served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in rural northeast Thailand and worked in South Korea at an economic research firm. Among her professional activities, Dr. Wotipka has consulted on girls education policies for the Ministry of Education in Afghanistan.

Moderator: Dafna Zur, associate professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures; director of Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University

Via Zoom. Register at

Panel Discussions


an image of a map of the world with a U.S. and China flag with the event text details.


How can we understand the geopolitical rivalry between the U.S. and China without fueling anti-Asian hate?

Join REDI's student representatives, Maddy Morlino and Miku Yamada, for an open discussion on how we can avoid contributing to racial discrimination when engaging in academic dialogues on U.S.-China competition.

This in-person event will facilitate an open dialogue with participants and invited speakers, FSI Senior Fellow Thomas Fingar and Postdoctoral Fellow, Dongxian Jiang. Since seating is limited, registration is reserved for current Stanford faculty, students, and staff only with a email.

Confirmed attendees will be notified by email on February 22.

Speaker bios:

Thomas Fingar is a Shorenstein APARC Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He was the inaugural Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow from 2010 through 2015 and the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at Stanford in 2009. From 2005 through 2008, he served as the first deputy director of national intelligence for analysis and, concurrently, as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Fingar served previously as assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2000-01 and 2004-05), principal deputy assistant secretary (2001-03), deputy assistant secretary for analysis (1994-2000), director of the Office of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific (1989-94), and chief of the China Division (1986-89). Between 1975 and 1986 he held a number of positions at Stanford University, including senior research associate in the Center for International Security and Arms Control.

Dongxian Jiang is a political theorist and intellectual historian. His primary research interests lie in comparative political theory, the history of political thought, and pressing practical questions of democratic and international politics, including Western and non-Western perspectives on human rights, democracy, good governance, and political legitimacy. He is also interested in the transmission and traveling of political ideas across divergent intellectual traditions. He holds a B.A. in International Politics and Philosophy from Peking University, an M.A. in Political Science from Duke University, and a Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University (as of September 2020). Dongxian Jiang is currently Civics Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Political Science, Stanford University.

Registration required:



Thomas Fingar FSI Senior Fellow Speaker Stanford University
Dongxian Jiang Political Science Postdoctoral Fellow Speaker Stanford University

This event will offer simultaneous translation between Japanese and English. 

This is a virtual event. Please click here to register and generate a link to the talk. 
The link will be unique to you; please save it and do not share with others.

Febuary 14, 4-5:30 p.m. California time/ February 15, 9-10:30 a.m. Japan time

This event is part of the 2022 Japan Program Winter webinar series, The Future of Social Tech: U.S.-Japan Partnership in Advancing Technology and Innovation with Social Impact


COVID-19 has changed the way we work. While remote work has become the norm, the pandemic has also highlighted the inequity in childcare, elderly care, and household work. Japanese workplaces feel a particularly acute need for adjustment, as lack of digitalization and persistent gender inequality continue to limit productivity gains and diversity in the workforce. Social entrepreneurs in Japan have started offering new technologies that address these problems and transform Japanese work environments, using matching algorithms, innovative apps, and other new technologies. How can these social technologies reshape the workplace? What principles do we need in using these technologies in practice, in order to unlock the keys to untapped human resource potentials and realize a more equitable and inclusive work environment in Japan, the United States, and elsewhere?  Fuhito Kojima, a renowned economist specializing in matching theory, will talk about market design from the perspective of regulation design and economics, and Eiko Nakazawa, an influential entrepreneur, will speak about her experiences founding education and childcare startups in the United States and Japan, moderated by Yasumasa Yamamoto, a leading expert on technology and business in Japan and the United States. 



Photo of Fuhito Kojima
Fuhito Kojima is a Professor of Economics at the University of Tokyo and Director of the University of Tokyo Market Design Center. He received a B.A. at University of Tokyo (2003) and PhD at Harvard (2008), both in economics and taught at Yale (2008-2009, as postdoc) and then Stanford (2009-2020, as professor) while spending one year at Columbia in his sabbatical year. His research involves game theory, with a particular focus on “market design,” a field where game-theoretic analysis is applied to study the design of various mechanisms and institutions. His recent works include matching mechanism designs with complex constraints, and he is working on improving medical residency match and daycare seat allocation in Japan based on his academic work. Outside of academia, he serves as an advisor for Keizai Doyu Kai as well as several private companies.


Photo of Eiko Nakazawa
Eiko Nakazawa is the Founder and CEO of Dearest, Inc., a VC-Backed startup in the United States that makes high-quality learning, childcare, and parenting support accessible by helping employers subsidize those costs for their working families. She also advises and invests in early-stage startups, and has recently co-founded Ikura, Inc., an education x fintech company in Japan. Prior to founding Dearest, Nakazawa spent 11 years with Sony Corporation, where she led global marketing, turnaround, and new business launch initiatives. Nakazawa earned an M.S. in Management from Stanford Graduate School of Business.




Photo of Yasumasa Yamamoto
Yasumasa Yamamoto is a Visiting Professor at Kyoto University graduate school of management and has been a specialist in emerging technology such as fintech, blockchain, and deep learning. He was previously industry analyst at Google, senior specialist in quantitative analysis of secularized products, as well as derivatives at Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi in New York. Yamamoto holds a M.S. from Harvard University and a masters degree from University of Tokyo.


Via Zoom Webinar



Fuhito Kojima <br>Professor of Economics at the University of Tokyo<br><br>
Eiko Nakazawa <br>Founder and CEO, Dearest Inc.<br><br>
Yasumasa Yamamoto <br>Visiting Professor at Kyoto University
Panel Discussions

The REDI Task Force invites you to the next event in our Critical Conversations: Race in Global Affairs series; an exploration of the life of enslaved women. This panel discussion will feature experts of enslavement across the Atlantic including the U.S., Brazil, West Africa, and the West Indies.

What do we really understand about the lives and legacies of African enslaved women across the Atlantic? Enslavement is often rendered through a genderless lens, one in which the category of "race" trumps all else. However, research tells a very different story and one that requires an intimate analysis - enslaved women across the Atlantic held an experience that was shaped uniquely by their race and gender. This conversation will explore how Black women during the slave period acted and reacted to the material forces that shaped their lives in an attempt to not only survive the harsh conditions but to carve out a future for ancestors. This interdisciplinary discussion will draw from various archival sources ranging from Senegambia to Brasil's sugar plantations to articulating novel understandings of enslaved women's selfhood. 

The panel will feature perspectives from three historians to uncover the intimate lives of African women; their kinship, religious, and resistance practices. Tracing a path through different locales, from free to enslaved status, we will discuss not only the lives of enslaved women, but their legacies.

This event is free and open to the public. There will be time for a Q&A.

Note: This discussion will be recorded. 

Speaker bios:

Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies whose teaching and research explores the intersections of race, religion, and gender in the United States. A historian of African-American religion, she specializes in the religiosity of enslaved people in the South, religion in the African Atlantic, and women’s religious histories.  Her first book The Souls of Womenfolk: The Religious Cultures of Enslaved Women in the Lower South (UNC 2021) offers a gendered history of enslaved people’s religiosity from the colonial period to the onset of the Civil War. She is currently at work on her second project, which traces the gendered, racialized history of phenomena termed “witchcraft” in the United States. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Mellon Foundation, and Forum for Theological Education, among others. She received her B.A. in English from Spelman College, and Master of Divinity and Ph.D. from Emory University.

Jessica Marie Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the Johns Hopkins University and a Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Studies at Harvard University. She is also the Director of LifexCode: Digital Humanities Against Enclosure. Johnson is a historian of Atlantic slavery and the Atlantic African diaspora. She is the author of Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World (University of Pennsylvania Press, August 2020), a winner of numerous awards including the 2021 Wesley-Logan Best Book in African Diaspora History Prize from the Association of American Historians and the 2021 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize of the American Studies Association. Her work has appeared in Slavery & Abolition, The Black Scholar, Meridians: Feminism, Race and Transnationalism, American Quarterly, Social Text, The Journal of African American History, the William & Mary Quarterly, Debates in the Digital Humanities (2nd edition), Forum Journal, Bitch Magazine, Black Perspectives (AAIHS), Somatosphere and Post-Colonial Digital Humanities (DHPoco) and her book chapters have appeared in multiple edited collections. She is the Founding Curator of #ADPhDProjects which brings social justice and histories of slavery together. She is also Co-Kin Curator at Taller Electric Marronage.  She is also a Digital Alchemist at the Center for Solutions to Online Violence and a co-organizer of the Queering Slavery Working Group with Dr. Vanessa Holden (University of Kentucky). Her past collaborations include organizing with the LatiNegrxs Project. As a historian and Black Studies scholar, Johnson researches black diasporic freedom struggles from slavery to emancipation. As a digital humanist, Johnson explores ways digital and social media disseminate and create historical narratives, in particular, comparative histories of slavery and people of African descent.

Nohora Arrieta Fernández is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA. She received her Ph.D. in Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies from Georgetown University in 2021. Her current research focuses on art history, visual studies, the history of commodities, and the intellectual traditions of the African Diaspora in the Americas. She has published essays and articles on Latin American literature and visual arts, comics, and the Afro-Latin American Diaspora, and is a collaborator of art magazines as Artishock and Contemporyand. She recently co-edited Transition. The Magazine of Africa and the Diaspora, 130. Her first co-translation project, Semantic of the World, the Poetry of Romulo Bustos, will be published by New Mexico Press (2022).



Online via Zoom


Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Stanford University
Jessica Marie Johnson Assistant Professor History Johns Hopkins University
Sonita Moss Research Associate Discussant REDI
Nohora Arrieta Fernandez Postdoctoral Fellow UCLA
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