International Korean Adoptee Associations

Fourth International Symposium on Korean Adoption Studies

Symposium Date: Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Location: IKAA Gathering 2016, Lotte Hotel Seoul, Korea.

Symposium Sponsor: IKAA (International Korean Adoptee Associations)

Questions? Please contact the Symposium organizers Tobias Hübinette, Sara Docan-Morgan, Kimberly McKee, and Elizabeth Raleigh at


Open to the General Public:
Per Person: KRW 30,000
Student (with a valid ID card that has to be presented on site): KRW 15,000

IKAA Gathering Participants registered for the full conference: Free Admission with the Gathering ID badge.

Dr. Park Nelson’s book, Invisible Asians: Korean American Adoptees, Asian American Experiences, and Racial Exceptionalism will be available for sale for KRW 30,000 at the registration table. Dr. Park Nelson will be available for book signing before lunch.

Payment on site. Pre-registration recommended.


Pre-Register here



The Fourth International Symposium on Korean Adoption Studies will bring together scholars from around the world who conduct research in the fields of Korean and Chinese adoption studies. Papers explore themes including the emotional labor of adoptees and birth parents in various moments of the adoption experience, adoptee negotiation of what it means to “be Korean” and their broader racial, ethnic, and cultural identities, and adoptees’ deployment of language and use of performance (e.g. Marissa Lichwick’s The Yellow Dress and Sun Mee Chomet’s How to be a Korean Woman) as a means to investigate the adopted experience. We invite all G16 participants to attend and engage in the vibrant discussions about scholarship that is relevant to adoptees, their family members, and significant others. In addition, Dr. Kim Park Nelson will give the keynote address, where she will discuss her new book, Invisible Asians: Korean Adoptees, Asian American Experiences, and Racial Exceptionalism (Rutgers University Press, 2016).


TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (Please note that this schedule is subject to change.)

09:00 – 09:15am:    Opening remarks

09:15 – 11:00am:     The Affective Labor of Adoptees and Birth Parents

  • Panelists:
    •    “Virtual Mothering:  Birthmothers’ invisible labor in the circuit of transnational adoption practice,” Hosu Kim, PhD, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, College of Staten Island, City University of New York
    •    “Examining photographs on international adoption websites: A qualitative content analysis approach to adoption agencies’ visual discourse,” Steve Kalb, MSW and PhD Candidate, Social Work and Social Research, and Adoptee Services Director for Holt International Children’s Services
    •    “Subjects of Nationalism and Nationalist Subjects: Representations of Korean Orphans and Adoptees in American Popular Media,” Kira Donnell, PhD Candidate, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California – Berkeley  
    •    “Domestic adoption in China: Birth parent and adoptee perspectives,” Jenna Cook, MA Student, China Studies, Peking University

11:00 – 11:15am:     Break

11:15 – 12:30pm:     Keynote Address: A Decade of Korean Adoption Studies at the IKAA Gatherings, Kim Park Nelson, PhD, American Multicultural Studies Program, Minnesota State University, Moorhead

12:30 – 1:45 pm:     Lunch on your own

01:45 – 3:30 pm:     Consuming Korea, Becoming Korean: The Politics of Adoptee Identity

  • Panelists:
    •    “Kimchi Identities: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Food,” Anders Riel Müller, PhD Candidate, Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University
    •    “Writing it out: “Adoption preoccupation” and search behavior,” Oh Myo Kim, PhD, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology Department, Boston College, Rich Lee, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, and Kevin Hynes, PhD Candidate, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Connecticut
    •    “What do we say when we know you are unaware? Korean adoptees’ discourse of identity,” Haley C. Vellinga, PhD Student, Communication Studies Department, University of Kansas
    •     “Transracial Identities: The Meaning of Names and the Process of Name Reclamation for Korean American Adoptees,” Jason D. Reynolds (Choi Taewon), PhD Candidate, Counseling Psychology, Fordham University

03:30 – 03:45pm:     Break

03:45 – 04:45pm:     Roundtable Discussion: Critical Reflections on Performance as Discourse in Korean Adoption Studies

  • Roundtable Participants:
    •    Katelyn Hemmeke, Junior Research, U.S. Fulbright Program
    •    Jieun Lee, PhD Candidate, Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Georgia
    •    Eunha Na, PhD Candidate, Department of English, University of Minnesota

04:45 – 05:00pm:     Closing remarks


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