Korean Studies Center
About NU KSC
NU Korean Studies Center is housed in the School of Sciences and Humanities (SSH) of Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Center was established through the seed program for Korean Studies (2018-2021), sponsored by the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS) in South Korea.

The study of Korea in Central Asia has been dominated by scholars of language education and the humanities. While historical and education studies of Korea have been conducted in depth, systematic Korean studies in areas such as politics, society, economics, and science are relatively underdeveloped.
NU Korean Studies Center aims to introduce a variety of research topics and methodologies to Korean studies in Central Asia by conducting Korean studies research through the lens of social scientists. The Center also actively interacts with local Korean specialists and researchers to enrich foundations of Korean studies in Central Asia.

To this end, the Center conducts various academic and research activities. Being a relatively young research center, KSC has been able to produce academic results through in-depth research, as well as serve as a link between Korea and Central Asia in various fields. If you are interested in Korean Studies or would like to get involved in our activities, please feel free to contact us by email or find and follow us on social media.
NU Korean Studies Center brings together professors from different departments at Nazarbayev University to conduct research related to Korea.

Dr. Hoyoun Koh (PSIR) joined the faculty of Nazarbayev University in 2016 after completing his Ph.D. in Government & Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is currently leading the Korean Studies Center at Nazarbayev University. He specializes in conflict behavior, experimental research, and East Asia. He teaches international relations, experimental political science, memory politics in East Asia, and quantitative methods. He is currently living in Astana with his lovely family.

Dr. Chunho Park (PSIR) joined NU in 2018 after earning his Ph.D. in Political Science at Michigan State University. Prior to NU, he was Assistant Professor (fixed-term) in the Department of Political Science at MSU for a year. His research and teaching interests focus on comparative political economy, comparative political institutions, electoral politics, and quantitative methods. He is leading the research on political participation within the Center.

Dr. Chun-Young Holden Park (PSIR) joined the faculty of Nazarbayev University in Fall 2023 after completing his doctoral degree at the University of Georgia. Prior to his doctoral training, Dr. Park worked for the Dokdo Institute of the Northeast Asian History Foundation in Seoul conducting research on the territorial and historical disputes between Korea and Japan in maritime space. He specializes in human security, international organizations, and foreign policy. His dissertation is about how less-recognized actors (middle powers and non-government organizations) strive for influence and status in the Universal Periodic Review through naming and shaming. His key research interests are on how states and non-state actors behave in the Universal Periodic Review, and interested in various methods, including text analysis and social network analysis.

Dr. Marilyn Plumlee (Writing Center) joined NU in 2018. She holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Hawaii. She has taught a wide variety of linguistics courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at universities in the U.S., South Korea and Egypt, focusing on second language acquisition, linguistic pragmatics and phenomena of multilingualism and language contact. From 2000-2012 she was a faculty member at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul (South Korea), and director of the International Summer Session in Korean Studies from 2003-2012. From 2012-2018 she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Linguistics at the American University in Cairo (Egypt) and director of the MA TESOL program from 2015-2018.

Ms. Heuijin Lee (WLL) joined NU as a teaching instructor of Korean language through the Korea Foundation’s visiting professor program. She earned her BA in economics at UCLA and MBA at NU Graduate School of Business. She acquired Certificate for Training Program for Korean Language Teachers from Seoul National University in 2018. Her main focus of teaching is communication efficiency in Korean as a foreign language.

Dr. Zhanibek Arynov (GSPP) received his doctoral degree in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews, UK. His research interests include Central Asian geopolitics and security, EU-Central Asia relations, international identity, image and perception studies. Prior to joining the GSPP, Zhanibek Arynov served as a Senior Expert of the Program of Eurasian Studies at the Institute of World Economics and Politics (IWEP), a think-tank based in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Dr. Hyesong Ha (GSPP) received his Ph.D. at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) of the Indiana University at Bloomington, IN. His academic interests cover employee empowerment and HRM, e-governments and organizational innovation, public health, organizational behavior and theory, policy analysis, and data analytics and quantitative methods.

Dr. Kyungmin Baek (Sociology) is Associate Professor of Information Sociology at Soongsil University, Seoul, Korea. Prior to his appointment at Soongsil University, he was teaching at NU Sociology department. His primary research investigates institutional changes in developmental states, including Korea and Post-Soviet Transition States. He has also investigated how workplaces in Asian countries adopt and implement antidiscrimination policies and the impact of these policies on the demographic composition of the workforce. He can be reached at kbaek37@ssu.ac.kr.

Dr. Inkyung Kim (Economics) is Associate Professor of Economics at Sogang University in South Korea. Prior to his current position, he taught in Economics at Nazarbayev University as Assistant Professor. He received a Ph.D. degree from Indiana University, Bloomington. His area of research includes empirical industrial organization and applied econometrics. He earned a B.A. in Economics from Seoul National University and worked at the Korea Development Bank for over five years as a financial analyst. He is also a CFA charter holder.

Korean Studies Seminar Series showcases the latest research in Korean Studies. NU professors usually present their research on Korea, but we also invite scholars from Korea and abroad to give seminars. The seminars are held once a month during the semester on NU campus.

K-Talks@NU is a talk concert-like open mini-lecture series, where anyone related to NU (students, faculty, staff, alumni, and family members) can apply for a presentation. Topics are limitless as long as it shares experiences about Korea. To apply, email us at koreanstudies@nu.edu.kz.

Korean Studies Conferences. NU Korean Studies Center co-hosted the 8th and the 11th Central Asian Korean Studies Conference in 2020 and 2023, respectively.

Scholarships for students. We offer a scholarship to two students every year. Selected students will be offered chances to participate in conference and/or Olympiad on Korean Studies in major Central Asian cities such as Almaty and Bishkek.

Courses about Korea. The School of Sciences and Humanities (SSH) offers regular credit courses on various topics of Korea and East Asia across multiple disciplines. Among those courses offered within SSH, the following courses are focused on Korea and Korean Studies (for details of each course, please contact the respective departments):
· KOR101 Basic Korean Language I
· KOR102 Basic Korean Language II
· KOR201 Intermediate Korean Language I
· KOR202 Intermediate Korean Language II
· KOR301 Advanced Korean Language
· PLS361 Memory Politics in East Asia
· PLS356 International Politics of the Korean Peninsula
· ECON317 East Asian Economic Development
Since 2019, NU KSC has been producing Korean Studies research in social sciences. Here is a list of selected works of the members of the Center:
  • “Government Trust and e-Government Performance: Focusing on Government Website Quality and Usage in Korea” (Hyesong Ha)
  • “Are Politicians Unresponsive to Feminists? A Field Experiment on Biases in Democratic Responsiveness among Local Representatives in South Korea” (Hoyoun Koh & Chunho Park, working paper)
  • “Affective Polarization, Norm Transgression by Elites, and Eroding Public Support for Democratic Norms” (Chunho Park & Myung-hoon Kang, working paper)
  • “Digital Capital of North Korean Refugees: A Comparative Study of South Korean Citizens and North Korean Refugees” (Hoyoun Koh & Kyungmin Baek, published in North Korean Review)
  • “Social Support and COVID-19 Stress among Immigrants in South Korea” (Hoyoun Koh, Kyungmin Baek, Younbgin Kim and Minsun Kim, published in Asia Journal of Public Opinion Research)
  • “Public Support for Nuclear Proliferation and Nationalist Sentiments in South Korea” (Hoyoun Koh, working paper)
  • “Who Commits Fraud? Evidence from Korean Gas Stations” (Inkyung Kim, Christian Ahlin and Kyoo-il Kim, published in Industrial Organization)
  • “Floating Population and Demand for Movie Theaters in Metropolitan Cities” (Inkyung Kim, Yoon-jin Lee and Young-ro Yoon, published in Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics)
  • “The Impact of Social Distancing on Box-office Revenue: Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic” (Inkyung Kim, published in Quantitative Marketing and Economics)
  • “A study on How to Develop Korean Online Courses Based on the Analysis of the Constraints” (Young-chu Cho, published in New Korean Language Education)
  • “Movie Variety and the City” (Inkyung Kim, published in The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy)
  • “Overseas Korean Studies Programs As Public Diplomacy: An Empirical Analysis of Inbound Tourism and Student Inflows” (Hoyoun Koh, working paper)
  • “Does Vertical Integration Enhance Non-price Efficiency? Evidence from the Movie Theater Industry” (Inkyung Kim and Vladyslav Nora, published in Review of Economic Design)
  • “The Koran Diasporic Identity in the Context of K-pop Consumption: The Case of Young Female Diaspora Members in Kazakhstan” (Hoyoun Koh & Kyungmin Baek, published in Journal of Asian Sociology)
The Center is networked with leading Korean Studies institutes in Central Asia, and also established exchanges with universities and research institutions in South Korea through joint research projects. Some of the institutions that we collaborate with include:
  • Center for Korean Studies at Ablai-khan University of Int’l Relations & World Languages
  • Center for Korean Studies at Korean Institute of Central Asia
  • Association of Korean Studies Professors in Central Asia
  • Institute of Social Sciences at Soongsil University
  • Korea Foundation
Phone: +7 717 270 6612, 9078
E-mail: koreanstudies@nu.edu.kz
Korean Studies Center
53 Kabanbay Batyr Avenue, #8.417A
School of Sciences and Humanities
Astana, 010000
Republic of Kazakhstan