The Importance of K-Pop to the Sociology of Asian Americans and Music
Grace Kao - IBM Professor of Sociology; Professor of Ethnicity, Race, and Migration (by Courtesy); Faculty Director, Education Studies; Director of CERSI, Yale University
This is a two-part talk. First, I propose that the popularity of K-Pop in the west has transformative possibilities for the lived experiences of Asian Americans. I will introduce K-Pop and BTS in particular. Second, I will present a working paper (co-authored with Wonseok Lee, School of Music, Ohio State University) titled, “Are Friends Electric? The Influence of 1980s British New Wave on 2020s K-Pop.” Given the centrality of the music video to the development of both K-pop and the British New Wave, we argue that there is a shared musical and visual aesthetic between these two genres. Our paper is also accompanied by a YouTube playlist of the music videos we analyze.
I have a YouTube playlist for the paper:
Grace Kao is IBM Professor of Sociology, Professor of Ethnicity, Race, & Migration (by Courtesy), and Faculty Director of Education Studies and Director of CERSI, Yale University. Kao’s research focuses on: (1) Racial, Ethnic, and Immigrant Differences in Educational Outcomes and Transition to Adulthood; (2) Interracial Friendships and Romantic Relationships; (3) Social Relationships During the COVID-19 Pandemic; (4) Dating and Marriage in S. Korea; and (5) Sociology of Music, especially K-Pop and the Hallyu.
Her most recent books are Diversity and The Transition to Adulthood in America (2022; co-authored with Phoebe Ho and Hyunjoon Park, University of California Press) and The Company We Keep: Interracial Friendships and Romantic Relationships from Adolescence to Adulthood (2019; co-authored with Kara Joyner and Kelly Stamper Balistreri, Russell Sage Foundation). Her most recent article on K-Pop is forthcoming in the Journal of Popular Music Studies (“’I Need You’: The Importance of Audience Participation in Online K-pop Concerts During COVID-19”, co-authored with Wonseok Lee.
According to Google Scholar, her work has been cited over 14,000 times.
She currently teaches a 1st year seminar titled “Race and Place in British New Wave, K-Pop, and Beyond.”