The Effron Center welcomes Assistant Professor Carolyn Choi, scholar of Asian American studies

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Effron Center for the Study of America Log
Effron Center
Nov. 1, 2023

Princeton University is excited to welcome Carolyn Choi as assistant professor in the Effron Center for the Study of America. Choi is an innovative, interdisciplinary sociologist. Her research weaves together Asian and Asian American studies; gender and sexuality studies; international migration and globalization; childhood and youth; intersectionality; and qualitative methods.

“I am thrilled to be part of the transformative vision of the Effron Center, which seeks to create intellectual and community spaces here at Princeton and beyond, that center solidarity, liberation, and social justice through intersectional, anti-racist, and globally-expansive commitments and agendas,” Choi said. “I am equally honored for the opportunity to meet calls across Asian American Studies and American Studies in bringing research, teaching, and actions that centers anti-colonial praxis, community building, and political engagement.”

Choi joins Princeton from Northern Arizona University where she served as assistant professor of Asian American Studies. Carolyn is a former Fulbright and Department of Education fellow and  has held postdoctoral positions in Asian American Studies and Korean Studies at Dartmouth College and the University of California at Los Angeles, respectively. She has also worked closely as a community advocate and organizer with several community-based organizations in Los Angeles’s Koreatown.

“The Effron Center is absolutely delighted to welcome Carolyn Choi,” said Effron Center Chair and Olden Professor of American Studies Aisha Beliso De-Jesús. “Her work is at the forefront of sociological approaches to Asian American studies. She provides an interdisciplinary perspective that explores transnational citizenship and the racialization of Asians globally.”

Choi’s current book project, Making Global Citizens: South Korean Student and Labor Mobilities in a Global Age, explores the educational and labor migration pathways of the Philippines, United States, and Australia, and how their compounded experiences of home-grown class and transnational racial inequalities challenge and upend larger state and nation-building narratives of global Asian ascendance.

“Choi’s deep ethnographic research with Korean English language learners in the United States, the Philippines, and Australia explores the role of language and racial privilege,” Beliso De-Jesús continued. “It also bridges critical discussions of Asia and Asian American studies, placing racial and ethnic experiences in a global context.”

This fall, Choi is co-teaching AMS 101, the foundational introductory course offered by the Effron Center.

In spring 2024, students can look forward to Choi teaching two exciting new courses. Asian American Pacific Islander Experience (ASA 318) develops an account of racializations beyond the black/white binary while situating Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences of exclusion and differential inclusion in the larger context of US wars and empires Asia and the Pacific Islands. Her course US Empire in Asia and the Pacific Islands (ASA 330) examines the transpacific entanglements between the United States, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.

Two important articles that highlight Choi’s compelling interdisciplinary approach include: “Segmented Pathways of Educational Mobility: English Language Schools, Working Holidays, and Divergent Prospects among South Korea’s Global Youth” (2021), which was published in Global Networks and won the Association of Korean Sociologists in America’s AKSA Graduate Student Paper Award; and “Moonlighting in the Nightlife: From Indentured to Precarious Labor in Los Angeles Koreatown’s Hostess Industry” (2018), which won of the American Sociological Association Section on Asia and Asian America’s Graduate Student Research Paper Award.

In addition, Choi’s public scholarship appears in Ms. Magazine and elsewhere, and she is the co-author of two children’s books: IntersectionAllies: We Make Room for All and Love without Bounds: An IntersectionAllies Book about Families. Together, these joyful and beautifully illustrated books recognize and celebrate kids of all genders, races, sexualities, abilities, cultures, and origins, as well as families in all their multicultural expressions.

Choi holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Southern California with a designated emphasis in gender and sexuality studies; an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science in in the sociology of crime, control, and globalization; and a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in sociology and comparative literature (Korean literature concentration).