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.
Jo Elfving-Hwang is an Associate Professor of Korean Studies, Deputy Head of School of Social Sciences and the Discipline Chair of Asian Studies. Previous to her current appointment she was Junior Professor of Korean Culture and Society and Director of Korean Studies at Frankfurt University (Goethe Universitat Frankfurt am Main). Jo has also previously taught Korean literature at the School of East Asian Studies (the University of Sheffield), and was a Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies (University of Leeds). She also has an interest in developing teaching and learning practices in the Higher Education system, and has worked as an academic developer and researcher at Sheffield Hallam University's Centre for Excellence for Teaching And Learning, with a specific interest in Learner Autonomy.

Jo's current research projects focus on cosmetic surgery practices in South Korea; cultural and social aspects of ageing and the body in South Korea, as well as perceptions of beauty and appearance among Asian Australians. Previously, Jo has worked on Korean women's literature, North Korean literature, as well as trauma, disaster narratives and national identity in South Korean cinema and literature.
Key research
My current research focuses on cosmetic surgery practices in South Korea, and in particular how the ageing bodies are positioned within a highly appearance-conscious society. My recent Academy of Korean Studies funded project titled "Elderly Korean Women's Somatic Subjectivities and Technologies of Self in an Image-Conscious Society" focuses on elderly Korean women's cosmetic surgery and beauty practices.
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:

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)

Journal articles:

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna (2016), ‘Out, Down and Out? Appearance, Body Work and Positive Ageing among Elderly Korean Women’, Journal of Aging Studies, accepted for publication in 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaging.2016.04.005

Elfving-Hwang, Joanna and Jane Park (2016), ‘Australian Media, Korean Cosmetic Surgery and the Question of Race‘, Continuum (SSCI indexed) published online March 2016 (print version forthcoming in 2016) DOI:10.1080/10304312.2016.1141864. Online:

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:

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 (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 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

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)
Discipline Chair (Asian Studies)
Convenor of Korean Studies

Previous Roles:
Graduate Research Coordinator (Social Sciences)

Research expertise:
Cosmetic surgery and cosmetic cultures in Korea
Korean literature
Korean popular culture and gender
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 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
Funding received
'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
Consultancy work undertaken on sociological and cultural aspects of cosmetic surgery, anti-ageing and cultural policy in South Korea
English, Finnish, Swedish, Korean
Korean Studies Association of Australasia (KSAA, Treasurer); Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA, member).

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)
KORE3812 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

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
Korean Studies Association for Australasia (KSAA), Treasurer
Secretary for Research (Europe), The International Association of Comparative Korean Studies (Seoul, South Korea)
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:
New and noteworthy
Recent interviews:
‘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:
‘Einmal grosse Augen, bitte!’.Sonntag weekly magazine, August 11, 2013.
Interview 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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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM