Soul in Seoul: African American Popular Music and K-pop

Soul in Seoul: African American Popular Music and K-pop is the first scholarly book to examine how contemporary Korean popular music (K-pop) references and incorporate musical and performative elements of various genres of African American popular music. Specifically, it argues that K-pop simultaneously cites instrumentation and vocals from various genres of black popular music and employs…

Does Ungrading Work for Everyone?

Best practices are only best when they work for nearly everyone. While ungrading advocates encourage others to ditch traditional grading, we need to consider the impact of ungrading on groups who already encounter resistance from students around grades. What is ungrading? Robert Talbert defines it as “a way of assessing and reporting on student learning…

Teaching Black Internationalism, Part 2, or, What Will Students Learn?

Creating student learning outcomes is one of the most difficult part of course design, but spending some time on this up front helps to guide the course and reduce the tendency to second-guess ourselves during the course. A word about course design. I think that we ascribe a romantic quality to teaching, focusing on the…

Teaching Black Internationalism, Part 1: Preliminary Considerations

That’s right! The Teaching series is back. I’ve been asked to teach a course, any course I want, for African and African American Studies. So like my Teaching K-pop series, I’m going to take you all along for the course design ride! I had to make two decisions right away: what to teach and how….

Project Update: Red Velvet: Queendom

The new exhibit on KPOPCULTURE, “Red Velvet: Queendom,” details the group’s musical production featuring their dual concept since debut in 2014. The exhibit provides basic information about the group and its music as well as a curated playlist derived from fan data. This exhibit is a part of the KPOPCULTURE digital humanities project, which curates…

PROJECT UPDATE: TWICE – Girls Like Us

The new exhibit on KPOPCULTURE, “Twice: Girls Like Us” shares the group’s impressive run of promotional tracks since debut in 2015. These tracks resonate with fans more so than deep cuts from releases. The exhibit provides basic information about the group and its music as well as a curated playist derived from fan data. This…

PROJECT UPDATE: ATEEZ- PIRATE KINGS

The new digital exhibit, ATEEZ : Pirate Kings, marks the return of the KPOPCULTURE project. Even though ATEEZ is a rookie group debuting just in 2018, the group has been quite prolific, and fans have been diligent in listening to their music, as evidenced by the healthy combination of promotional as well as deep cuts…

K-pop as Popular Music

K-pop is a form of popular music whose significance goes beyond its financial success. In January 2021, Esquire published Emma Carey‘s article, “The Best Pop Bands of All Time Prove the Universal Power of Music,” which acknowledged the slippery nature of the label of “pop,” but also declared: “In simple terms, pop music is literally….

Modeling Black Womanhood in K-pop

Given the influence of black popular culture on K-pop, it is not surprising that female K-pop artists also draw on images of black womanhood, especially those associated with hip-hop. While some scholars focus on prominent, sexualized images of black women as the defining model, other scholars point to the more complicated nature of representations of…

Writing about K-pop: Choose Your Disciplinary Adventure

In my previous article, I talked about how taking a historian’s approach to K-pop considers the past in making  sense of the present. In this article, I’ll discuss how this informs my approach to K-pop in my book Soul in Seoul: African American Popular Music and K-pop. In making sense of K-pop, I choose several…