Hae Yeon Choo

Director, Centre for the Study of Korea
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, UTM
Room 368

725 Spadina Avenue

Hae Yeon Choo

Areas of interest

  • Race, gender, class
  • Social theory
  • Urban politics
  • Citizenship and migration
  • Labour
  • Asia and Asian diaspora


Main bio

Professor Hae Yeon Choo’s research centers on gender, citizenship, transnational migration, and urban sociology to examine global social inequality. In her empirical and theoretical work, she employs an intersectional approach to social inequalities, integrating gender, race, and class in her analyses. This approach provided the foundation for an article published in Sociological Theory in 2010 (with Myra Marx Ferree), which offers an intersectional methodology to address the complex dimensions of analysis in sociological research. She has also translated Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider and Patricia Hill Collins’s Black Feminist Thought into Korean.

Her book Decentering Citizenship: Gender, Labor, and Migrant Rights in South Korea (Stanford University Press, 2016) and related articles (published in Gender & Society and Qualitative Sociology) offer an account of how inequalities of gender, race, and class affect migrants’ practice of rights through a comparative study of three groups of Filipina women in South Korea—factory workers, wives of South Korean men, and hostesses at American military camptown clubs. Based on 18 months of multi-sited ethnographic research, this research delves into the marginal spaces in which non-citizen migrants negotiate their rights, entitlements, and belonging in South Korea in the absence of shared ethnic nationhood, and develop an understanding of citizenship, not as a simple legal category, defined in top-down fashion for an individual by a nation-state, but rather as an interactive accomplishment involving both the host society and the migrants as active agents constrained by the structures of law and policy.

Professor Choo was the 2018-2019 Member of Institute for Advanced Study (School of Social Science, Princeton, NJ). Her current book project examines social activism in contemporary South Korea as sites of emergent critical social theory and new political imagination.

Select publications


  • Choo, Hae Yeon, John Lie and Laura Nelson. 2019. Gender, Class, and Contemporary South Korea: Intersectionality and Transnationality. Berkeley, CA: Institute for East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. (equal co-editors).
  • Choo, Hae Yeon. 2016. Decentering Citizenship: Gender, Labor, and Migrant Rights in South Korea. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Book chapters

  • Choo, Hae Yeon. Forthcoming in 2021. “‘Layoffs Are Murder, but They Are Also Everyday Life’: A Critique of Labor and Living in the Era of Ghost Capital,” In Crisis Under Critique, edited by Didier Fassin and Axel Honneth. New York: NY: University of Columbia Press.
  • Choo, Hae Yeon. 2015. “The Needs of Others: Revisiting the Nation in North Korean and Filipino Migrant Churches in South Korea,” Pp. 119-141, In Multiethnic Korea? Multiculturalism, Migration, and Peoplehood Diversity in Contemporary South Korea, edited by John Lie. Berkeley, CA: Institute for East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
  • Choo, Hae Yeon and Myra Marx Ferree. 2013. “Sexual Citizenship and Suffering Subjects: Media Discourse about Teenage Homosexuality in South Korea,” Pp. 128-143, In Inequality & The Politics of Representation: A Global Landscape, edited by Celine-Marie Pascale. New York: Sage.

Journal articles

  • Choo, Hae Yeon. Forthcoming in 2021. “From Madwomen to Whistleblowers: MeToo in South Korea as an Institutional Critique.” Feminist Formations 33(3).
  • Choo, Hae Yeon. 2021. “Speculative Home-Making: Women’s Labor, Class Mobility, and the Affect of Homeownership in South Korea.” Urban Studies 58(1): 148-163.
  • Choo, Hae Yeon. 2017. “Maternal Guardians: Intimate Labor and the Pursuit of Gendered Citizenship among South Korean Volunteers for Migrant Women.” Sexualities 20(4): 497–514.
  • Choo, Hae Yeon. 2016. “In the Shadow of Working Men: Gendered Labor and Migrant Rights in South Korea.” Qualitative Sociology 29(4): 353-373.
  • Choo, Hae Yeon. 2016. “Selling Fantasies of Rescue: Intimate Labor, Filipina Migrant Hostesses, and US GIs in a Shifting Global Order.” positions: asia critique 24(1): 179-203.
  • Cheng, Catherine M. and Hae Yeon Choo. 2015. “Women’s Migration for Domestic Work and Cross-border Marriage in East and Southeast Asia: Reproducing Domesticity, Contesting Citizenship.” Sociology Compass 9(8): 654-667. (equal authors)
  • Choo, Hae Yeon. 2013. “The Cost of Rights: Migrant Women, Feminist Advocacy, and Gendered Morality in South Korea.” Gender & Society 27(4): 445-468. (lead article)
  • Choo, Hae Yeon. 2012. “The Transnational Journey of Intersectionality.” Gender & Society 26(1): 40-45.
  • Choo, Hae Yeon and Myra Marx Ferree. 2010. “Practicing Intersectionality in Sociological Research: A Critical Analysis of Inclusions, Interactions, and Institutions in the Study of Inequalities.” Sociological Theory 28 (2): 129-149. (lead article)
  • Choo, Hae Yeon. 2006. “Gendered Modernity and Ethnicized Citizenship: North Korean Settlers in Contemporary South Korea.” Gender & Society 20(5): 576-604. (lead article)

Awards & recognition

  • Cheryl Allyn Miller Award for Research on Women and Work, Sociologists for Women in Society, “Gendering Migrant Rights: Explaining Differences in the Practice of Rights for Filipina Factory Workers and Club Hostesses in South Korea”, 2013
  • Lumpkin Award for the Best Dissertation in the Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2011
  • Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Article Award, Race, Gender, Class Section of the American Sociological Association, “Practicing Intersectionality in Sociological Research” (with Myra Marx Ferree), 2011
  • National Women’s Studies Association Women of Color Paper Award, Choo, Hae Yeon May 2014 3 of 7 “Practicing Intersectionality in Sociological Research”, 2008
  • American Sociological Association, Asia and Asian America Section Graduate Student Paper Honorable Mention, “Gendered Modernity, 2008