Dr Sunhee Koo
Research | Current
For the last ten years, I have focused my research on the relationship between music and the construction of identity among diasporic Koreans in the U.S., China, and Japan, and Chinese Korean return migrants and North Korean defectors in South Korea. My research on these topics presents important case studies that deal with the transformation of Northeast Asia, into a vibrant cultural intersection in which various nations, citizenship, and cultural identities are crisscrossed. The primary outcome of my research is the sole-authored book on Chinese Korean music and identity (under contract with the University of Hawai‘i Press); I have submitted the full manuscript for the press review in 2017, and after receiving the positive reviews, I am currently completing the revision of manuscript, which I expect to finish no later than the end of 2018. By winning the University of Auckland’s Faculty Research Development Fund in 2016, I began new research on North Korean performing arts troupes in South Korea and Japan. As outcome of this research, I delivered six conference papers at various international conference venues and submitted two book-chapter and one refereed-journal manuscripts, all of which are currently under review. My growing expertise in Korean diaspora and migration, and North Korean performing arts distinguishes my work globally.
Teaching | Current
ANTHRO 202 Music and Identity in World Music Cultures
ANTHRO 301 Contemporary Research in Music and Culture
2018–2019 John Hyun-Joon Jang, MA thesis, P’umba: Politics and Commercialisation of a Traditionesque Theatre in Contemporary South Korea, Anthropology, University of Auckland
2017– Hae Eun Shin, PhD thesis, North Korean Performing Arts, Anthropology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (External Supervision Committee Member)
2017- Kooshna Gupta, PhD thesis, Item Songs and Gender in Hindi Cinema, Anthropology, University of Auckland
2017–2018 Dorithy Mitasa, BA Honour dissertation, Transculturality in K-Pop and its Appeal to Auckland Youths, Anthropology, University of Auckland
2016–2017 John Hyun-Joon Jang, PG Dip, Aging and Ritual in Korean Music, Anthropology, University of Auckland
2011–2017 Jihye Kim, PhD thesis, Ethnicity and Opportunity: Korean Entrepreneurship in the Argentine Garment Industry, Asian Studies, University of Auckland
2014 Shahabeddin Chilan, PhD thesis in the School of Music (SoM), the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries (NICAI), University of Auckland
2012–2013 Anna Zhang, MM thesis, The Construction and Reconstruction of Chinese National Vocal Music, School of Music, NICAI, University of Auckland
2007 The 2006 Best Student Paper Prize, Association for Korean Music Research
2004 The 2004 Chancellor’s Doctoral Student Research Achievement Award, University Research Council, UHM
2003, 2002Arts and Sciences Advisory Council Award, College of Arts and Sciences, UHM
2002 Outstanding Student in Ethnomusicology, Music Department, UHM
2002 Chinese Music Scholarship, UHM
2001 Nesta Obermer Chamber Music Scholarship, UHM
1995 Founder’s Day Award, College of Arts and Sciences, NYU
1995 Hanna van Vollenhollen Memorial Prize, Department of Music, NYU
UoA Korean Studies Advisory Board (Academy of Korean Studies‒Core University Program of Korean Studies Fund)
Areas of expertise
East Asia: China, North and South Korea, Japan
Korean Studies Australasia Association (KSAA) Board Member
Newsletter Editor of KSAA
Board Member of Asian Musicology, a peer-reviewed journal published in South Korea
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Koo, S. H. (2019). Silky or Broken Sound?: The Performance and Performativity of North Korean Self-Reliance Singing in South Korea. Voicing the Unheard: Music as windows for minorities. Paris, France: L'Harmattan. Related URL.
- Koo, S. H. (2019). Zainichi Korean Identity and Performing North Korean Music in Japan. Korean Studies, 43, 169-195. Related URL.
- Koo, S. (2019). Korea: History, Culture, and Geography of Music. In J. Sturman (Ed.) The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture (pp. 1274-1276). Thousand Oaks, USA: SAGE Publications, Inc.. 10.4135/9781483317731.n409
- Kim, J., & Koo, S. (2017). From father to son: 1.5- and second-generation Korean argentines and ethnic entrepreneurship in the argentine garment industry. The Review of Korean Studies, 20 (2), 175-201.
- Koo, S. (2016). Silky or broken voice? Performing North Korean self-reliance singing in South Korea. Paper presented at ICTM Study Group Symposium “Music and Minorities”, Rennes, France. 4 July - 8 July 2016.
- Koo, S., & SUNG, S. Y. L. (2016). Asia and beyond: The circulation and reception of Korean popular music outside of Korea. In H. Shin, S. A. Lee (Eds.) Made in Korea: Studies in Korean popular music (pp. 203-214). London & New York: Routledge.
- Koo, S. (2015). Instrumentalizing Tradition?: Three Kayagŭm Musicians in the People’s Republic of China and the Construction of Diasporic Korean Music. Asian Music, 46 (1), 78-109. 10.1353/amu.2015.0002
- Koo, S. H., & Oh, J. Workshop on Korean Drumming, 11/8/2014. , Kenneth Myers Theater, University of Auckland. Commissioning body: Academy of Korean Studies
- Media Contact
Primary office location
HUMAN SCIENCES BUILDING - EAST - Bldg 201E
Level 8, Room 817
10 SYMONDS ST