ASA Lecture Series: Yuri Doolan

The First Amerasians: Mixed Race Koreans from Camptowns to America
Feb 29, 2024, 4:30 pm6:30 pm


Event Description

Yuri Doolan (PhD, Northwestern University 2019) is an Assistant Professor of History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as inaugural Chair of Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies at Brandeis University. He is an award-winning historian whose work explores the anti-Asian racism and structural violence of US militarism and empire.

His current book project titled, The First Amerasians: Mixed Race Koreans from Camptowns to America (forthcoming 2024, Oxford University Press) tells the powerful, oftentimes heartbreaking, story of how Americans created and used the concept of the "Amerasian" to remove thousands of mixed race children from their Korean mothers in US-occupied South Korea to adoptive American homes during the 1950s and 1960s. The First Amerasians explores the Cold War ideologies undergirding this so-called rescue and shows how this process of child removal and placement via US refugee and adoption laws profoundly shaped the lives of mixed race Koreans and their mothers.

Yuri is also the author of a number of peer-reviewed essays and public facing works exploring the lasting legacies and human consequences of the Korean War. His essays on military brides, transnational and transracial adoption, mixed race Koreans, the US camptown military sex industry, and "comfort women" appear or are forthcoming in Critical Ethnic StudiesThe Journal of Asian American StudiesDiplomatic HistoryTogether at Last: Stories of Adoption and Reunion in the Age of DNAMixed Korean: Our Stories(인종주의의덫을 넘어서: 혼혈 한국인, 혼혈 입양인 이야)The Journal of American Ethnic HistoryKoreatowns: Exploring the Economics, Politics, and Identities of Korean Spatial Formation경계를 넘는 한인들: 이주, 젠더, 세대와 귀속의 정치, and a permanent installation in Berlin called Die „Trostfrauen“ und der gemeinsame Kampf gegen sexualisierte Gewalt.

Yuri’s research and writing has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the Korea Foundation, the Academy of Korean Studies, the Fulbright Program, the Mandel Center for the Humanities, the Northeast Asia Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, as well as internal sources at Northwestern University and Brandeis University.

As an LGBTQ-identifying, first-generation college student, and second-generation Korean American raised by a single immigrant mother, Yuri welcomes inquiries from students of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds and encourages them to enroll in his courses. Students interested in learning more about Yuri's personal background can do so by reading his piece "Dear Umma" appearing in Mixed Korean: Our Stories.