Seong-Kon Kim, PhD '84 & MA '81

International Distinguished Alumni Award

By Barbara A. Byers

Release Date: March 20, 2012

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Seong-Kon Kim

Seong-Kon Kim is professor of English at Seoul National University, a prize-winning literary critic and editor-in-chief of 21st century literature. He is also a celebrated columnist for The Korea Herald and a research member of the Republic of Korea Presidential Committee on National Cohesion. In February 2012, Kim was appointed by the Korean government to direct the Literature Translation Institute of Korea to promote Korean literature overseas.

Kim came to UB on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1978 and received his PhD in English in 1984 under the direction of Leslie A. Fiedler. Meanwhile, he also studied at Columbia University and completed the PhD coursework in comparative literature. He taught at UB and Columbia for three years as a teaching assistant.

Since joining the faculty of Seoul National University in South Korea in 1984, Kim has sent more than 30 of his Korean graduate students to the UB English Department for their PhD degrees. All of them are now faculty members at various Korean universities, forming a strong UB alumni connection in Korea.

At Seoul National University, Kim was dean of the Language School, director of Seoul National University Press and director of the American Studies Institute. In academia, Kim was the founding president of the Korean Association of Literature and Film, and president of the International Association of Comparative Korean Studies, the Korean Society of Modern English Fiction and the American Studies Association of Korea.

He has taught at Pennsylvania State University, Brigham Young University and University of California, Berkeley as a visiting professor, and has conducted research at Oxford and Harvard as a visiting scholar. Kim was also editor-in-chief of Contemporary World Literature and Literature and Thought.

Author of 20 books, Kim's award-winning publications include "Interviews with Postmodern American Writers" (Today's Book Award), "Literature in the Globalizing World" (KWT Prize) and "Literature in the Age of Hybrid Cultures" (Best Book of 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences). He has also received numerous prizes and awards such as Fulbright Distinguished Alumnus Award, CU Distinguished Alumnus Award, SNU Distinguished Research Award, SNU Best Institute Director Award, Fulbright Asian Scholar-in-Residence Award, British Council Grant and Canadian Faculty Enrichment Grant. Kim has widely lectured at Cornell, Stanford, Tokyo, Peking, Paris XIII and Saarbrucken universities.