The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

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Joanna Elfving-Hwang

Assoc/Prof Joanna Elfving-Hwang

Associate Professor (on sabbatical)
Asian Studies

Contact details
Asian Studies
The University of Western Australia (M257)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 3522
Personal homepage

Deputy Head of School (Education) (on sabbatical)
Social Sciences, School of

Contact details
School of Social Sciences
The University of Western Australia (M257)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 3522
Personal homepage
BA PhD Sheff.
I am an Associate Professor of Korean Studies at the University of Western Australia, Perth. Prior to moving to Australia in 2012 to develop a Korean Studies curriculum at UWA, I was Director of Korean Studies at Frankfurt University, and have also worked at Sheffield University, Leeds University and Sheffield Hallam University in the UK in various academic positions. I am an enthusiastic Koreanist and have served in a number of elected positions to promote Korean Studies both in academia and in the industry. I am the current President of the Korean Studies Association of Australasia (KSAA) and previously served as a Treasurer for KSAA for the past four years. I am also currently serving as an Executive Board Member of the Australia-Korea Business Council or Western Australia (AKBCWA).
In my own institution I am the Deputy Head of School of Social Sciences with the responsibility for the Teaching & Learning portfolio, and serve in a number of committees, including the Academic Board at UWA, the School of Social Sciences School Executive Committee, the University Board of Discipline, Salary Progression Committee (VC’s nominee), and Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education Curriculum Committee and the Faculty Teaching & Learning Committee.
Key research
My research interests are all in one way or another concerned with Korean Studies and cultural sociology of the body in Korea in particular, and I am currently completing a manuscript tentatively titled “Cosmetic Matters: Beauty Cultures and the Body in Korea”. In addition to beauty and cultural sociology, my work is concerned with cultural gerontology and ageing in South Korea, as well as Korean popular culture in its myriad forms including cinema, television and popular music.
My current Academy of Korean Studies funded research project (2017-20180 focuses on analysing how beauty is consumed in every day contexts by less obvious consumers of beauty (such as older women over 65 and middle aged men) and what social meanings are attached to appropriate presentation of self and maintaining attractive appearance.

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2010). Representations of Femininity in Contemporary South Korean Women's Literature (Dorset: Brill/Global Oriental) (ISBN 978-1-906876-02-9). [Review of the book available in Acta Koreana Vol. 15, No. 2 (2012), pp. 415–19.]

Edited books:

Moore, Ivan, Kenisha Garnett, Joanna Elfving-Hwang and Chris Corker, eds. (2010). Centre for Promoting Learner Autonomy Case Studies, Vol. 1 (Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University) (ISBN: 978-1-897851-17-3, 240 pages)

Refereed journal articles:

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2017), ‘The Aesthetics of Authenticity: Corporate Masculinities in Contemporary South Korean Television Dramas,’ Asia Pacific Perspectives 10(2). Online version available at:

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna, ‘Out, Down and Out? Beauty Work and Agency among Elderly Korean Women’, Journal of Aging Studies 38 (2): 6-15

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna and Jane Park (2016), ‘Australian Media, Korean Cosmetic Surgery and the Question of Race‘, Continuum 30(4): 397-407, DOI:10.1080/10304312.2016.1141864.

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2015), ‘Disaster Narratives in Contemporary South Korean Cultural Imaginary‘, Korea Journal 55(3), 8-29 (SSCI indexed). Online access:

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2013), ‘South Korean Cultural Diplomacy and Brokering ‘K-Culture’ outside Asia‘, Korean Histories 4(1), 14-26. Online access:'K-Culture'_outside_Asia

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2013), ‘Cosmetic Surgery and Embodying the Moral Self in South Korean Popular Makeover Culture," The Asia-Pacific Journal, 11(24), 1-11. Online access:

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna and Ruth Holliday (2012), 'Gender, Globalization and Aesthetic Surgery in South Korea', Body and Society 18(2), 58-81, doi: 10.1177/1357034X12440828, Nominated as an article of ‘Key Importance to the Field of Sociology’ in 2014 (

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2006), 'The Improper Desire for Knowledge: De-gendering Curiosity in Contemporary Korean Women’s Literature', The British Association of Korean Studies Papers, Vol. 10, 107-118.

Book chapters

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2018). ‘K-pop Idols, Artificial Beauty and Affective Fan Relationships in South Korea’, in Handbook of Celebrity Studies, ed. Anthony Elliot (London and New York: Routledge), pp. 191-201,

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2011). ‘Cross-border representations in North and South Korean Cold War Literatures’, in Global Cold War Literatures: Western, Eastern and Postcolonial Perspectives, ed. Andrew Hammond (London and New York: Routledge), pp. 44-57.

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2008). 'The Improper Desire for Knowledge: De-gendering Curiosity in Contemporary Korean Women’s Literature', in Korea: The Past and the Present, eds. James Hoare and Susan Pares (Dorset: Global Oriental), pp. 446-454 (ISBN 1-901903-54-0), online access:

Elfving-Hwang Joanna, Kenisha Garnett and Ivan Moore (2009). ‘Learner Autonomy and Professional Development: Enabling Learning and Teaching Innovations through Engaging with a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning’ (as lead author,), in Improving Student Learning: For the Twenty-First Century Learner, ed. Chris Rust (Oxford: Oxford Brookes University) (ISBN: 1 873576 79 3), 116-27.

Book reviews and short articles

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna ‘Darf man seinen Kindern eine Schonheitsoperation zum Abitur schenken?’ GEO Magazine (Germany), January 4, 2016,

Elfving-Hwang and Ruth Holliday, ‘Gender, Globalization and Aesthetic Surgery in South Korea', discussion paper published on This paper has been viewed more than 30,000 times, and is currently trending in the most viewed 1% articles on

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna and Jane Park, 'Does Everyone Just Want to Be White?', Asian Currents (April 2014), pp. 33-34. Available online:

Elfving-Hwang (2013), Joanna ‘Transnational Sport: Gender, Media, and Global Korea’ by Rachael Miyung Joo, Pacific Affairs 86(4), 930-93

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2012), ‘Crisis of Gender and the Nation in Korean Literature and Cinema’ by Kelly Y. Jeong, Journal of Asian Studies, 71(4), 1160-62

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2010), ‘Who Ate Up All the Shinga?’ by Park Wan-Suh (book review), _List, Books from Korea, Vol. 7, p. 34.

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2008), ‘There Petal Silently Falls’ by Ch’oe Yun, Acta Koreana, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 261-265.

Chapters in Conference Proceedings

Fraschini, N., Elfving-Hwang, J. 2016, 'Main motivational components of Korean language students in a Australian higher education setting', Proceedings of the 1st Conference on Korean Language Education in Australia, (Sydney: The University of Sydney), pp. 48-66.

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2011), ‘Not So Soft After All: Kkonminam Masculinities in Contemporary South Korean Popular Culture’ Conference Proceedings of the KSAA 7th Biennial Conference, Paper no. P049 (CD Rom) (ISBN 978-0-7334-3079-4), 21 pages , available online:
Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2011), ‘Responses to “Korean Literature in English Translation: The Next Ten Years”’, Korean Literature into The World: Proceedings of the 5th International Translators’ Conference 2011 (Seoul: Korean Literature Translation Institute), 208-13.

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna, Ivan Moore and Kenisha Garnett (2009), 'Developing Communities of Practice: the Role of a Centre for Excellence in Fostering Staff and Student Communities' (with), EvidenceNet [online] (York: The Higher Education Academy), Available from:

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2003), 'The Fantastic as a Tool for Subverting Mythic Femininity in Contemporary Korean Women’s Fiction', Proceedings of the 21st Conference of the Association for Korean Studies in Europe, eds. Antonetta Bruno and Federica Baglioni (Rome: University of La Sapienza), 183-186
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Current Roles:
Deputy Head of School (Social Sciences, Teaching & Learning Portfolio)
Member of the Academic Board (since 2015)
Member of the Faculty Teaching and Learning & Curriculum Committees (since 2014)
Salary Progression Committee (Professional Staff), VC's nominee, since 2015

Previous Roles:
Discipline Chair (Asian Studies)
Convenor of Korean Studies
Graduate Research Coordinator (Social Sciences)

Research expertise:
Cosmetic surgery and beauty cultures in Korea
Gender and popular culture in Korea
Korean literature and cinema
Korean cultural diplomacy and popular culture
Korean Official Development Assistance and Cultural Engagement in Africa

Co-curator of the "Transcending Borders" Korean art exhibition (Berndt Museum, May-July 2014:
Member of the organising committee for the Australian Sociological Association (TASA) conference in 2017:
Member of the organising committee for the ASAA 2014 conference:
Workshop "The Present and Future of Korean Literature in Translation – How to Translate Literature“ ("한국문학 번역의 현실과 전망-문화번역을 어떻게 할 것인가") (October 10-11, 2011), Frankfurt University (organised in collaboration with Korean Literature Translation Institute): main conference organiser
Centre for Promoting Learner Autonomy (Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning) Symposium in July 2009
Centre for Promoting Learner Autonomy (Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning) Poster Exhibition in January 2009
Graduate studies conference at Sheffield University in February 2004: Main organiser
Future research
I have forthcoming publications on aspirational beauty and ageing in Korea; cinematic representations of ageing in Korea; co-authored paper on rethinking the femme fatale in Korean cinema, as well as co-authored paper on perceptions of ideal 'Australian beauty' among Asian Australian youth.
Funding received
Academy of Korean Studies (Seoul, South Korea) competitive international research grant (US$15,000) UWA, 2017: 'Man Made Beautiful: A Qualitative Study of the Social Meanings Attached to Everyday Beauty Practices by Korean Salarymen'
Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade - Australia Korea Competitive Grant, UWA, 2017 ($15,000), Associate Professor Joanna Elfving-Hwang, Mr Iain Watt, Professor Wendy Erber, Professor Leonard Collard, Professor Ian McArthur, 'Promoting Australia in Korea: The Second UWA-SKKU Partnership Forum'
UWA Research Collaboration Awards, UWA, 2016 ($20,000): Professor Loretta Baldassar, Dr Raelene Wilding, Associate Professor Christopher Etherton-Beer, Dr Judy Esmond, Associate Professor Joanna Elfving-Hwang, Dr Helen Manchester, Dr Ivalyo Vassilev, Professor Gonzalo Bacigalupe, Dr Sanetta Du Toit, Dr Majella Kilkey, Professor Hengjin Dong, Professor Cornelia Schweppe, Professor Paolo Boccagni, Dr Jyotsna Kalavar, Associate Professor Leng Thang, Associate Professor Elaine Ho, 2016: 'Ageing and New Media'

'What Does an Australian Look Like? Pilot Study on Understanding Asian-Australian Perceptions of ‘Australian Appearance’ in Multicultural Australia', Teaching Relief for UWA Academic Staff (2016)

Academy of Korean Studies (Seoul, South Korea) competitive reearch grant: "Elderly Korean Women's Somatic Subjectivities and Technologies of Self in an Image-Conscious Society" (2014-2015)

Associate Professor Robert Ian Cover, Associate Professor Farida Fozdar, Associate Professor Loretta Baldassar, Associate Professor Joanna Elfving-Hwang 2014, 'Community, Popular and Digital Media in Migrant Settlement, Integration and Resilience: Mobilities and Belonging', UWA Research Collaboration Awards

BMBF Grant (Federal Ministry for Education and Research, Germany): “Korean Cultural Policy in Africa”, 2012-2016 (Collaborative grant, total €3.98 million)

Frankfurt University QSL (Enhancing Quality in Teaching and Learning) Grant - 2011

Korean Literature Translation Institute Workshop Grant - 2011

Korean Literature Translation Institute Residential Program Grant - 2011

Frankfurt University QSL (Enhancing Quality in Teaching and Learning) Grant - 2011

Korean Literature Translation Institute International Exchange Grant - 2010

Daesan Foundation Field Research Grant for Korean Literature - 2009

Korean Literature Translation Institute International Exchange Grant - 2009

Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship 2007/2008 - 2007

Peter Carnell Memorial Award - 2002

Learned Society Travel Grant - 2002

Daesan Foundation Postgraduate Grant for Korean Studies - 2001
Industrial relevance
I regularly provide consultancy assistance to companies working on Korean beauty cultures or on sociological and cultural aspects of cosmetic surgery and anti-ageing a in South Korea.
English, Finnish, Korean, Swedish
President of the Korean Studies Association of Australasia (2017-)
Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA, member).
Association of Korean Studies in Europe (AKSE, member)

Honours and awards
Winner of the 2015 Faculty of Arts Teaching and Service Award
UWA Student Guild Student Choice Award (Teaching Excellence) in Semester 2, 2014 Teaching Excellence Nominations every year since 2014.
Consistently above average SURF rankings in all units single taught (2014-2017)
UWA Alumni Fund runner-up (with Nicola Fraschini) for project titled ‘Enhancing Learner Autonomy and Digital Literacy in LOTE contexts’ in 2016
Teaching Excellence Nominations in a number of units in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017; Nomination for Excellence in Research Supervision in 2015
Previous positions
Director of Korean Studies, Junior Professor of Korean Society and Culture (Frankfurt University, Germany)

Academic Developer and Researcher (Sheffield Hallam University Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, UK)

Korea Foundation Postdoc Research Fellowship (Leeds University, UK)

Visiting Lecturer in Korean Literature (Sheffield University, UK)
ASIA3006 Contemporary Korean Society
KORE2811 Readings in Korean Language and Culture
GEND3903 Screening Gender
ASIA2004 Asian Popular Culture
KORE2401 and KORE2402(Intermediate Korean)
HERI5105 Heritage and Development in Asia
ASIA5002 Critical Cultural Engagement in Asia

Courses taught previously:
Contemporary Korean Society
Colonial Korean Literature
Contemporary Korean Literature (undergraduate and postgraduate)
Korean Culture and Society though Critical Feminist Theory (postgraduate)
North and South Korean Cultural Politics (undergraduate and postgraduate)
Introduction to Korean Studies (undergraduate)
Disciplining the Body: A Critical Theory Course (postgraduate)
Modern Korean Literature (1910-1950s)
Current external positions
President of the Korean Studies Association of Australasia (2017-present):
Executive Board Member of the Australia Korea Business Council of Western Australia:
Korean Studies Association for Australasia (KSAA), Treasurer (2013-2017)
Secretary for Research (Europe), The International Association of Comparative Korean Studies (Seoul, South Korea 2011-2013)
Research Associate, White Rose East Asia Centre, UK
Korea Research Hub Associate, The University of Leeds and the University of Sheffield
Co-Chief Investigator, Korea's ODA in Africa, AFRASO (African Asian Options), Frankfurt University
Useful links
Asian African Options:

I'm also a co-chief investigator in a research project that focuses on African-Asian interactions from comparative and transregional perspectives. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), our project investigates the intersection of 'culture' and 'development' in South Korea's ODA engagement in Ethiopia and Kenya. Further details on the project can be found on:

New and noteworthy
Recent interviews and media engagement:
‘Idolizing K-pop: What are we glazing over?’, 2ser 107.3 radio station, an interview with Sam Baran, April 5, 2018:
‘Male Makeup: the Trend Changing the Meaning of Masculinity’, by Ernst Spencer, Eye Witness News, March 23, 2018:
‘你怎么看待男人化妆这件事?‘, (Chinese online news), March 18, 2018:
‘Makeup is changing the meaning of masculinity’, by Vivien Jones, CNN, March 16, 2018:
Expert Guest on ABC Radio National talk show ‘Stop everything!’ February 16, 2018:
En Coree du Sud, les Femmes n’ont pas d’autre hoix que d’etre belles, by Diane Jean, The Cheek Magazine, February 27, 2018.
‘South Korean is the King of Cosmetic Surgery’, by Andrew Dunne, The Seoul Times December 4, 2017,
‘South Korean HR Report: Do good looks lead to good jobs?’ By Kelvin Ong, HRM Asia, 9 October 2017,
‘Can you be masculine and beautiful at the same time?’, interview with Siyi Chen for the Quartz Magazine, 7 October 2017,
‘Super Sad Neoliberal Self’, by Alex Doherty, TelesurfTV, 10 May 2015.
‘Cosmetic surgery and the Asian face: Whose beauty ideal?’, Life Matters programme with Natasha Mitchell, ABC Radio National, July 9, 2015,
‘Has South Korea Become the World Capital for Plastic Surgery?’ interview with Christie Moffat for Glammonitor, January 20, 2015:
‘Koreas Perfekte Gesichter’ [The Perfect Faces of Korea], Interview with Martin Aldrovandi for Channel 2 (Swiss radio station), January 6, 2015: and also:
Special feature interview with Korean magazine Perth Madang (in Korean): “한류를 넘어 한국 문화를 가르치다” [“Teaching Korean culture beyond the Korean Wave”], June 2014.
‘Korea: The Cosmetic Surgery Capital of the World’, by Yun Kun-ha, The Korea Herald, March 5, 2013,
‘Einmal grosse Augen, bitte!’.Interview with Martin Aldrovandi for Sonntag weekly magazine, August 11, 2013.
Interview by Katharina Borchardt on North Korean literature for Korea Forum 2012 (in German): ‘Interview mit Joanna Elfving-Hwang’, Korea Forum 2012 (Berlin: Korea Verband, 2013), 47-49
Radio interview with RTRFM “Morning Magazine” programme, “Art of the Forgotten War”, 7.6.2013:
TV interview with SBS for a programme on perceptions of Korea and Korean culture in Europe, 19 January 2012 (in Korean). Korean studies students also participated. Broadcast on 11 March 2012.
TV interview with KBS on a program about student life in Germany and Korea, 18 January 2012 (in Korean)
TV Interview with SBS Co. Gab Media on Hallyu in Germany, 6 December 2011 (in Korean)
TV Interview with YTN News, 22 November 2011. Broadcast on December 3, 2011 (in Korean)
Newspaper interview with Hangook Ilbo (Korea Daily) in Seoul, 22 September, 2011 (Korean Literature Translation Institute News Conference). Available at: (in Korean).
Research profile
Research profile and publications

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