Digital Scholarship

Digital Humanities Projects


KPopCulture is an Omeka-based digital humanities project that curates modern Korean popular music (K-pop) through digital collections of music, choreography and fan activity.

iFans: K-pop Global Fandom

Without the benefit of mainstream media coverage, modern Korean popular music (K-pop) has gained a small but significant following in a variety of locations outside of Korea, including countries in East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and North America.  These fans are iFans in two ways: they are international fans and they use the Internet as part of their fan practice.  iFans: Mapping K-pop Global Fandom is an Omeka-based digital culture project that seeks to understand the attitudes and activities of global fans using qualitative surveys and curations of fan production.

Current Surveys

Last Fans Standing: Veteran Fans of K-pop

Most people assume that K-pop is trendy, only appealing to fans for a brief time. However, as the longevity of K-pop groups increases, so too does the longevity of their fanbases.  This study seeks to understand why individuals remain K-pop fans for 5 or more years. Until January 2020, this survey will collect responses to questions about these veteran fans.  This survey contains several open-ended and multiple-choice questions about individuals who have been fans of a K-pop group(s) or solo artist(s) for 5 or more years.


Not the Only One: Multi-Fandoms in K-pop

Global fans of Korean popular music (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. This study seeks to understand the motives of fans who chose to participate in several fandoms at the same time. This 12-month study will use a survey of open-ended and multiple-choice questions to understand why individuals participate in multiple fandoms.


Bibliographic Notes


Scholars can take very different approaches to K-pop. Doing so simultaneously contributes to the overall knowledge about the subject and shows significant gaps in scholarly examinations. Some focus on K-pop as a music industry propelled by fandom, while others examine its historical roots. Click here to continue reading….


The fandom for Hallyu-era Korean popular music (K-pop) is overwhelmingly female. However, a portion of it does involve men, both as participants and critics. How does that impact the way we may view the fandom? Click here to continue reading….


In “So Contagious: Hybridity and Subcultural Exchange in Hip-Hop’s Use of Indian Samples,” Sarah Hankins explores the sonic meaning of music from South Asia in African American music, specifically hip-hop. This made me wonder about the implications for K-pop, in light of its own practices in relation to hip-hop and its own cultural exchange with South Asian sounds. Click here to continue reading….


K-pop is well-known as a hybrid musical tradition, incorporating elements from musical traditions developed in locales outside of Korea, including Japan, Latin America and the United States. While some attribute some of the foreign elements to “Western” music, other scholars recognize the tremendous impact of distinct black American musical traditions. Click here to continue reading


As part of my research for my book project, Crazy/Sexy/Cool: Transnational Femininities in K-pop, I’ve been reading up on girl industries and girl cultures. Such scholarship invariably places these in a neoliberalist context, and this has a bearing on female K-pop groups.  On one hand, K-pop girl groups are created by Korean agencies to appeal to global mass audiences, who are mostly female. At the same time, individual fans find such groups appealing, sometimes in ways that challenge the intention of the Korean agencies. Marnina Gonick and Yeran Kimtake two different approaches that bear on my work on K-pop girl groups. Click here to continue reading….


Authenticity is a major theme in scholarship on rhythm and blues (R&B), which poses some interesting challenges for my work on how R&B travels transnationally.  Some writers define authenticity in R&B solely in terms of the experiences of African Americans, deeming crossover beyond the black community as pandering to the mainstream (read white people).  Others take the hybridity of black music as their starting point and suggest alternative ways of reading the appeal of R&B beyond American blacks.  The centrality of music aesthetics as well as audience agency proves most useful for my work. Click here to continue reading

Digital Essays

“Ethnicity, Glamour and Image in Korean Popular Music.” KPK: Kpop Kollective. 28 Jan 2014.

“Pure Love f(x): Feminisms and K-pop Girl Groups.” KPK: Kpop Kollective. 12 May 2013.

“Whose Generation? GIRLS’ GENERATION!: Gender, Audience and K-pop.” KPK: Kpop Kollective. 3 May 2013.

“The ‘K’ in K-pop: Research Finds Korean Language, Culture Appeals to Global Fans.” KPK: Kpop Kollective. 11 Dec 2012.

“Let’s Call This Song Exactly What It Is: Defining K-pop.” KPK: KPop Kollective. 11 Jun 2012.

“Redefining Heroism in World Trigger and Kuroko’s Basketball.” High Yellow. 31 Jan 2016.

“Men Can Be Flowers Too: Asian Masculinities in Popular Culture.” High Yellow. 12 Jul 2015.

“Steady Shaking the Ground”: Lyrical Skill in Epik High’s Music.” High Yellow. 1 Feb 2014.

“The World Turned Upside Down: Social Change in Historical Kdrama.” High Yellow. 25 Jan 2014.

“Is ‘Idol Music’ Just Dance Music?” High Yellow. 15 Jan 2014.

“Put Your Own Hair Up: Female Agency in the Historical Drama.” High Yellow. 30 Sept 2012.

“What Does Gangnam Style Mean for (the) US?”  High Yellow. 27 Aug 2012.

“Talking About Asians Behaving Badly: Fan Reaction to the Block-B-Jenny Hyun-MBC Blackface Controversies.”  High Yellow. 31 Mar 2012.

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