Jesook Song

Jesook Song

Jesook Song, (PhD, 2003, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Professor, St. George Campus

(416) 946-3587
Office: AP 202

Research Keywords: Socio cultural anthropologist of contemporary urban transformation and welfare issues including homelessness, youth unemployment, single women’s housing, and psychological health support system

Research Region: East Asia, particularly South Korea

Research Bio

Jesook Song received her B.A. in Education Science at the Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology with a minor degree in Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA. She is currently writing a book on South Korean housing issues and family independent women.

Major Awards and Grants

SSHRC Insight Grant (2016-2021) on Financial Techniques in the Everyday Life on the Urban Working Poor

Bridge Fund (2015) by Faculty of Arts and Science and Department of Anthropology on Financial Techniques in the Everyday Life on the Urban Working Poor

The Academy of Korean Studies Competitive Research Grant (2012-2013) on Speculative Practices and Their Impacts on Household Management.

The Academy of Korean Studies Distinguished Paper Award (2010) “Between Flexible Life and Flexible Labor: The Inadvertent Convergence of Socialism and Neoliberalism in South Korea” Critique of Anthropology. 29(2): 139-159.

SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2008-2012) on The Psychological Health Care System for People without Family Support in South Korea.

Korea Foundation Advanced Research Grant (2008-2009) for writing a book manuscript on family-independent women and housing in South Korea.

Connaught New Staff Matching Fund (2005-2007) on Family-Independent Women in South Korea.

The Academy of Korean Studies Award on the Encouragement of Research for an excellent journal publication (2007) “Family Breakdown and Invisible Homeless Women” in positions: east asia cultures critique 14(1):37-65.

American Anthropological Association The Sylvia H. Forman Prize, the best graduate essay in feminist anthropology (2002).


In Press “Gendered Care Work as “Free Labor” in State Employment: School Social Workers in the Education Welfare (Investment) Priority Project in South Korea” Journal of Asian Studies. Online publication is July 20, 2017 DOI:

2014 Living on Your Own: Single Women, Rent Housing, Post-Revolutionary Affect in Contemporary South Korea, Albany: SUNY Press

2013 “Governmental Entanglements: The Ambiguities of Progressive Politics in Neoliberal Reform in South Korea” in Global Future in East Asia Stanford: Stanford University Press

2012 “Korea Through Ethnography” Special issue of Journal of Korean Studies, Volume 17, Issue 2, co-edited with Nancy Abelmann

2012 “Positioning Asia in a Global Future?: An Example through Rethinking Finance” in special issue of “Twenty Years After” positions: asia critique 20(1): 173-182

2011 “Situating Homelessness in the Post-Developmental Welfare State: The Case of South Korea”  Urban Geography 32(7): 972-988

2010  New Millennium South Korea: Neoliberal Capitalism and Transnational Movements. ed. by Jesook Song London: Routledge.

2010  Gender and Class in Korea and Japan: Sexing Class (edited by Ruth Barrachlough and Elyssa Faison, Routledge, 2009), Pacific Affairs 83(4): 799-800.

2010  Welfare Reform and Sexual Regulation (by Anna Marie Smith, Cambridge University Press, 2007) to Feminist Review, 95: 16-18

2010  ‘A Room of One’s Own’: The Meaning of Spatial Autonomy for Unmarried Women in Neoliberal South Korea. Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 17(2): 131-149

2009  Between Flexible Life and Flexible Labor: The Inadvertent Convergence of Socialism and Neoliberalism in South Korea. Critique of Anthropology. 29(2): 139-159

2009  South Korea in the Debt Crisis: The Creation of a Neoliberal Welfare Society. Durham: Duke University Press.

Graduate Students

Kristina Alda

Salvatore Giusto

Sophia Jaworski

Celeste Pang