The new exhibit on KPOPCULTURE, Yoo Young Jin, provides an overview of one of K-pop’s most influential music producers. Not only has Yoo worked on some of the most recognizable and enduring K-pop songs, he has also produced his own material. The exhibit provides an overview of his most popular work as well as a Curated Playlist that delves into other tracks with the groups with whom he works the most, including SHINee, TVXQ, Super Junior and Shinhwa (when they were on the SM Entertainment label).
This exhibit is part of the KPOPCULTURE digital humanities project, which curates modern Korean popular music (K-pop) and the culture that surrounds it through digital exhibitions of music, choreography, fandom and industry.
Many institutions, including my own, include creative activity from art, music, theatre and other disciplines as part of undergraduate student research. Given the creative nature and output of these disciplines, what can this look like?
A recent discussion on the Council on Undergraduate Research Member Forum addressed this very question. Most participants seemed to agree that creative output was radically different from more “traditional” research. They also agreed that under the rubric of undergraduate research, it must go beyond the performance or the production of art. Iain Crawford, Shirley Huston-Findley, Peter Mowrey, and Kitty McManus Zurko argue that there are aspects of research undertaken by students in the fine arts that mirror undergraduate research at large, including mentorship by a faculty member and the development of a research question. In addition, students such as those in theatre “apply their research in a laboratory setting–in this case, on stage–and test their hypothesis through artistic engagement. . . . The result for most majors is a keen awareness of the historical, theoretical, and analytical components necessary for artists to move from investigation to application” (24). Crawford et al apply the language commonly associated with STEM-based research, the language of experimentation, to performance.
Crawford et al also link the inquiry-based nature of undergraduate research to music performance: “Student performers are expected to have undertaken a thorough review of literature (written and musical) and significant research into historical context, style, and performance practice prior to (and during) the preparation of their culminating recitals. . . . Some of this research will make it into their required accompanying documents, which usually take the form of extended program notes addressing selected aspects of the recital program for a theoretical and/or musicological perspective” (28). While all students may be required to undertake a recital as part of their music major, those involved in undergraduate research undertake additional work that grounds and contextualizes the performance.
In both cases, creative activity as undergraduate research represents something more. It is a systematic and deliberate approach to performance and art, which is at the heart of the research process. The result differs from more traditional research in that its evaluation may be more subjective. Yet, because the student engages in the major parts of the research process, they receive the same benefits from the high impact practice as their counterparts in other disciplines. At the same time, students engaged in creative activity also produce products that parallel that of other disciplines, such as artist statements and program notes for recitals, both of which reflect “a serious review of literature, a high degree of critical thinking, experimentation, thorough evaluation of alternatives, creativity and great attention to detail” (Crawford et al, 26).
Crawford, Iain et al. “Undergraduate Research in the Fine Arts at the College of Wooster.” Creative Inquiry in the Arts and Humanities: Models of Undergraduate Research. Eds. Naomi Yavneh Klos, Jenny Olin Shanahan, and Gregory Young. Washington, DC: Council on Undergraduate Research, 23-32.
The K-pop fandom landscape has changed in the past few years. Data suggests that the general K-pop “idol” fandom is more divided than it was less than 10 years ago and challenges some widely held notions about the preferences of global K-pop fans. Read more at KPK: Kpop Kollective…..
OMO!: Korean and Chinese Drama and Commentary is my newest digital humanities project, which curates information on dramas and the global response to them in the form of reviews. It represents not only resource creation but also an examination of how global audiences make meaning of this transnational popular culture.
The project also includes the work of undergraduate researchers, providing the valuable experience of working on a research project. The first exhibit, City Hunter (2011), includes an analysis of the promotional poster as well as an overview as well as short-form and longer reviews compiled by De’siree Fairley, undergraduate research assistant. Users can view complete reviews in Evernote. As the project includes more dramas, we hope that we can determine a pattern in the consumption of dramas by global audiences.
The mere existence of high impact practices does not produce results. Much depends on the way such practices are implemented.
High impact practices are a set of experiences that have been shown to improve student learning. Recently, Inside Higher Education reported on research published in The Journal of Higher Education that suggests that such practices do not lead to improved learning and higher graduation rates. Marjorie Valbrun reports that the study concluded that “the graduation rates at colleges that incorporated all the practices were not higher than those that used few if any of the practices.” Such conclusions suggest that “examining the connection between the recommended practices and institutional outcomes was important because of the widespread use of the practices ‘at the expense of other possible offerings'” (Valbrun). This could lead some to suggest that we abandon high-impact practices for other types of activities.
Soon after, George Kuh, author of High Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter (2008), and Jillian Kinzie penned a response in Inside Higher Education, raising an important, overlooked aspect of the study. In addition to the circumstances of the students, they argue that “simply offering and labeling an activity a HIP does not necessarily guarantee that students who participate in it will benefit in the ways much of the extant literature claims.” In other words, the high-impact practice needs to be deliberately structured to achieve certain results. Its mere existence will not create positive results for students.
Much like when we teach classes, we need to envision what we hope to accomplish when we embark on a high impact practice in our institutions and how we seek to meet those goals. More importantly, we have to think about how such experiences will impact the student and what the student will take away from the experience. Are we simply adding a line to a student’s resume for a job or a cv for graduate school? Are merely creating data points for institutional data? Or, are we providing an experience and tangible products from that experience that students can share?
This is something I’m working on as I continue to implement our institution’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for reaccreditation, which is undergraduate research, a high-impact practice. Creating ways to leverage these experiences will also make them more meaningful to students, who sometimes overlook the continued benefit of the experiences for later in their lives and focus on just doing them. One possible approach is combining high-impact practices. In addition to undergraduate student research, the overview of “High-Impact Educational Practices” published on the Association of American Colleges & Universities site lists other HIPs that may reinforce the positive impact of undergraduate research. I’m thinking of how making undergraduate research collaborative and culminate in projects or encouraging students to create research portfolios from their classwork may increase the positive impact of undergraduate research.
What is clear is that we must give careful thought not just to implementing such practices, but how we implement such practices.
Fan identity is at the heart of fandom studies, and one of the most contested issues revolves around differentiating types of fans based on their knowledge, behavior or both. Fan hierarchy and fan continuum are two concepts that attempt to answer this question, with different implications.
In Understanding Fandom, Mark Duffett defines a fan as “a person with a relatively deep, positive emotional conviction about someone or something famous, usually expressed through a recognition of style or creativity. He/she is also a person driven to explore and participate in fannish practices” (18). As a result, a fan differs from a general member of an audience, for “contemporary culture still marks out an emotional and rhetorical divide between the identities of the fan and the ordinary audience member” (45). By definition, fans are emotionally attached to the object of fandom, while ordinary audiences are just not as attached. Fans can be identified by what they know and how they engage in a variety of fan activities.
Perhaps it is this emotional attachment that also factors into the way fans see themselves in relation to each other. In Fan Cultures, Matt Hills refers to the notion of fan hierarchy, which he argues involves both fan cultural capital, or “the knowledge that a fan has about their object of fandom,” and fan social capital, or “the network of fan friends and acquaintances that a fan possesses, as well as their access to media producers and professional personnel linked with the object of fandom” (57). Hill’s issue is more with academics who study fans and how they arrange fans in relation to each other. Fan cultural capital is based on knowledge alone, whereas fan social capital is based on interaction with other fans and larger fan culture. This tends to lend itself to comparisons and valuing certain kinds of fans over others, privileging those who have more knowledge or more interaction with the larger fandom.
But Duffett realizes that this may not capture the complexities of fan culture. It also may reinforce a negative appraisal of fans. Remember that Duffett defines fan activity as positive. Instead, he proffers the notion of a fan continuum “that stretches between the least committed fans and the most dedicated fans” and allows for the consideration of other kinds of fan characteristics, including “fan self-identification, community participation, consumption of publicity material and archiving” (44).
This move attempts to get us away from thinking about “good” fans and “bad” fans, and more on what fans do and how they think of themselves. It recognizes as a fan anyone who has any level of the emotional attachment to the fan object. In this way, if you think you are a fan, then you are one. At the same time, it allows us to make distinctions based on how fans operate. We might be fans, but we are not the same type of fans. Some fans have a superficial engagement with the fan object, while others have deep knowledge. Hills acknowledges this when he notes that one can have high fan cultural capital, but low fan social capital. This doesn’t take away a fan’s identity, but it does describe a different mode of fandom. Fan continuum allows us to recognize the differences in fan practices without passing judgement on fans or questioning a fan’s authenticity.
Duffett, Mark. Understanding Fandom: An Introduction to the Study of Media Fan Culture. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.
Hills, Matt. Fan Cultures. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.
Can’t decide which K-pop group or artist is your favorite? You are not alone! Global fans of K-pop tend to support several groups and artists at the same time, while their Korean counterparts tend to support only one group or artist. But why? And which groups tend to be in a global fan’s multi-fandom? This study seeks to answer these questions in survey that uses open-ended and multiple-choice questions. Take the survey and tell your friends!
One of the things that happens when conducting qualitative surveys is that they can raise more questions than they answer. This is what happened with the preliminary data from Last Fans Standing: Longtime and Adult Fans of Korean Popular Music (K-pop). Response rates were unusually low, which was unusual given the rising number of fans who have been fans for more than five years. I speculated that respondents may think that only adult fans who had also been fans for five years or more could take the survey. So, I revised the survey to focus solely on veteran fans of K-pop, individuals who had been fans for five years or more. The revised survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/vetfans !
Newer male K-pop groups are increasing the complexity of their choreography. UP10TION, who debuted in 2015, features 10 members. This large group is gaining popularity for their execution of complex dance moves with precision. Find out more with the Revised UP10TION Dance Collection exhibit!