Jennifer Jihye Chun

Jennifer Jihye Chun
Associate Professor


On Leave


Professor Chun joined the faculty in 2012, after teaching at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests are broadly animated by questions about the dynamics of power, inequality and social change under global capitalism. In particular, she explores how people experience and make sense of the social, economic and political transformations associated with employment precarity and the intensification of new and existing social inequalities along gender, race, class and migration status. Her book, Organizing at the Margins: The Symbolic Politics of Labor in South Korea and the United States (Cornell University Press, 2009) won the ASA Race, Gender and Class Section's 2012 Distinguished Book Award (co-winner). Her current major research project examines the affective and emotional politics of organizing immigrant women workers in the San Francisco Bay Area and Vancouver. She is involved in several collaborative research projects, including a multi-country comparison of alternative models of collective organizing by workers in informal and precarious jobs; gender, migration and care worker organizing; employment standards enforcement gaps in Ontario; and protest cultures in South Korea. She is the past president (2010-14) of the Research Committee on Labour Movements (RC44) of the International Sociological Association. She is the director of the Centre for the Study of Korea housed at the Asian Institute in the Munk School of Global Affairs.


Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley

Research Interests: 

My research interests are animated by questions about the dynamics of power, inequality and social change under global capitalism.  In particular, I explore how individuals and organizations negotiate economic and political shifts associated with transnational flows of labour, capital and goods across borders. Much of my research has focused on the changing world of work and politics for individuals employed on the bottom rungs of the labour market. I am also pursuing new research projects in the areas of race, migration and transnationalism.


Chun, Jennifer Jihye and Ju Hui Judy Han. 2015 (forthcoming). “Living and Working as Temporary Sojourners The Mobile Aspirations of Korean Youth.” Positions: Journal of East Asia Critique 23(2) (in special issue on “Youth Labor and East Asia,” ed. Gabriella Lukacs)

Han, Ju Hui Judy and Jennifer Jihye Chun. 2014. “Introduction: Gender and Politics in Contemporary Korea.” Journal of Korean Studies 19(2): 245-55 (co-editors of special issue)

Chun, Jennifer, George Lipsitz and Young Shin. 2013. “Intersectionality as a Social Movement Strategy: Asian Immigrant Women Advocates.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 38(4): 917-40.

Chun, Jennifer Jihye and Michelle Williams. 2013. “Labour as a Democratizing Force: Lessons from South Africa and Beyond.” Rethinking Development and Inequality: An International Journal for Critical Perspectives 2:2-9 (co-editors of special issue)

Chun, Jennifer Jihye, Young Shin and George Lipsitz. 2013. “Immigrant Women Workers at the Center of Social Change: Asian Immigrant Women Advocates,” pp. 207-231. In Immigrant Women Workers in the Neoliberal Age, eds. Anna Romina Guevarra, Nilda Flores-Gonzalez, Grace Chang, and Maura Toro-Morn. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Chun, Jennifer Jihye. 2012. “The Power of the Powerless: New Schemas and Resources for Organizing Workers In Neoliberal Times,” pp. 37-60. In Cross-National Perspectives on Social Movement Unionism: Diversities of Labour Movement Revitalization in Japan, Korea and the United States, ed. Akira Suzuki. Oxford: Peter Lang.

Chun, Jennifer Jihye 2011. “Legal Liminality: The Gender and Labor Politics of Organizing South Korea’s Irregular Workforce,” pp. 63-83. In New Millennium South Korea, ed. Jesook Song. London: Routledge.

Teaching Interests: 

  • Development and Globalization
  • Racial and Ethnic Inequality
  • Immigration and Transnationalism
  • Political Sociology
  • Work and Labour
  • Ethnograp