Bio

I’m a cultural geographer with interests in religion, mobilities, and difference. I work as a prof in Gender Studies at UCLA. Previously, I was a geography prof at the University of Toronto. (Yes, in Canada.)

I’m from a lot of places — mostly Seoul, northern and southern California, and both the west coast and eastern(ish) Canada. I was born and raised in Seoul, Korea and immigrated as a 12-year-old to Southern California where I grew up hating the heat, the smog, and big hair. I escaped the suburbs to UC Berkeley in the early 90s and majored in English and women’s studies, moved back down to LA, worked for a digital community networking initiative at The Getty, and then returned to Berkeley several years later to earn a PhD in geography. Between undergrad and grad school, and before and beyond that, I have worked as an activist, artist, all-around geek, and information designer. I am proud to have helped launch and build Californians for Justice (CFJ), an awesome statewide anti-racist organization that taught me so much about base building and grassroots organizing, and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), a national feminist organization that opened my eyes to a world of committed Asian American activists and advocates throughout the US. I remain committed to anti-racist and pro-immigrant, anti-fascist and progressive queer and trans feminist activism in Korea and the Korean diaspora.

cropped-han_solo_comic01_right.gifMy teaching and research interests lie at the nexus of political economy and cultural politics, and most of my work deals with Korea and the Korean diaspora in some way. I rely on interdisciplinary and overlapping frameworks of cultural geography, postcolonial cultural studies, and critical race, sexuality and gender studies. I suppose my primary disciplinary homes are in geography, critical Korean studies, and transnational feminist studies, but I collaborate with all kinds of like-minded thinkers and kindred spirits in cultural anthropology, critical sociology, English and cultural studies, religious studies, film and media studies, history, and beyond.

I like stories. A lot. I’ve always thought of myself as a kind of a storyteller (and an aspiring comic book author), and I see a critical place for storytelling in research, writing, and teaching. The online student publication I started with a handful of stories in Toronto in 2012 is a project that combines storytelling and a sense of place, and one way that I encourage students to tell more critical and reflexive stories about themselves and about the world they inhabit. See On the Move: an undergraduate journal of creative geographies. I am now working with a group of amazing UCLA students to publish more recent writings.

You can reach me at judyhan AT ucla.edu or through the contact form. Email is better.