Sujin Eom

Academic Appointments

Lecturer, Asian Societies, Cultures, and Languages

As a scholar working at the intersection of race, migration, and the built environment, I am intellectually invested in expanding the scope of postcolonial urban studies by excavating what Edward Said phrases as "overlapping territories and intertwined histories" across seemingly discrete geographic entities. Drawing from archival research and historical ethnography, my research examines transnational connections of ideas and things which have received little scholarly attention in architectural and urban history. Rather than viewing the study of colonial racism neither as an ahistorical nor aspatial field, my research approaches race and empire as inherent in contemporary global urbanism. In my work, I situate East Asia’s colonial space, which is arguably absent in postcolonial urban studies, in the global circuits of urban ideas and forms which circulate race and racism across continents. By tracing transnational trajectories of traveling architecture and urban forms, such as Chinatowns, elevated highways, urban renewal, and mosques, my work interrogates plural histories of racism and its spatial entanglements in East Asia.

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I am currently completing my first book manuscript, “Traveling Chinatowns: Migration, Proximity, Violence in the Transpacific Asias," which situates 'Chinatown' as an imaginative and material space within the transpacific history of migration and violence. The book analyzes transpacific sites of migration and its narratives—colonial architecture, public health journals, detective fiction, exposé journalism, ethnography, police photography—to trace how “Chinatown” evolved into a collectively imagined space that shared racial anxiety and hatred across the Pacific in the early twentieth century. How did Anglo-American settler imperial imaginaries make their way to colonial space in East Asia? In what ways were such imaginaries understood and received in East Asia’s colonial space? Further, what did the transpacific travel of race and racism inform us about the global circulation of spatial ideas in the twentieth century? By answering these questions, the book explores the transnational circuits through which racial “truths” were routinely exchanged across continents and delves further into the role of imaginaries, not merely in the production of, in the concealment of violence in colonial space.  

My research and teaching interests include colonial architecture and urbanism, migration and diaspora, race and racism, Asian American art and architecture, infrastructures, postcolonial urban theory, and ruins. My other research projects have dealt with transnational flows of architecture and urban forms, materialities of postcolonial legalities and sentiments, and aesthetics and politics of infrastructure. 

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Carpenter 307
HB 6017
Asian Societies, Cultures, and Languages
Ph.D in Architecture, University of California, Berkeley
M.S. in Architecture, Seoul National University
Bachelor of Architecture, Seoul National University

Selected Publications

Eom, Sujin. “Bulldozing the Dead: Chinese, Citizenry, and Cemetery in Postcolonial South Korea.” Modern Asian Studies (In Press). 

Eom, Sujin. 2020. “Infrastructures of Displacement: The Transpacific Travel of Urban Renewal during the Cold War.” Planning Perspectives, Vol. 35, No. 2, 299-319.

Eom, Sujin (with Nezar AlSayyad). 2020. “On the Possibility of Urban Citizenship: Inclusive Identities, Exclusive Places.” Being Urban: Community, Conflict and Belonging in the Middle East, edited by Simon Goldhill. London: Routledge.

Eom, Sujin. 2019. “After Ports Were Linked: Paradoxes of Transpacific Connectivity in the Nineteenth Century.” Imaginaries of Connectivity and Creation of Novel Spaces of Governance, edited by Luis Lobo-Guerrero, Suvi Alt, and Maarten Meijer. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 67-87.

Eom, Sujin. 2019. “The Idea of Chinatown: Rethinking Cities from the Periphery.” Core Location as Method: Forms of Praxis from the Margins of Urban South Korea, edited by Jesook Song and Laam Hae. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 21-42. 

Eom, Sujin (with Nezar AlSayyad). 2018. “Bottom-Down Urbanism.” The Palgrave Handbook of Bottom- Up Urbanism, edited by Mahyar Arefi and Conrad Kickert. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 271-285.

Eom, Sujin. 2017. “Traveling Chinatowns: Mobility of Urban Forms and Asia in Circulation.” positions: asia critique, Vol. 25, No. 4, 693-716.

Eom, Sujin. 2013. “The Specter of Modernity: Open Ports and the Making of Chinatowns in Japan and South Korea.” Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, Vol. 24, No. 2, 39-50.

Works in progress

Traveling Chinatowns: Migration, Proximity, Violence in the Transpacific Asias (Book manuscript in progress) 

"Dangerous Proximity, Deceptive Appearance: Spatializing Race across the Pacific." Under Review for Journal of Asian Studies. 

“Ruins of Colonial Violence: Migration, Proximity, and Anti-Chinese Riots in Korea.” Under Review for Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

“Bridge on Ground: Elevated Highways and the Materiality of Postcolonial Statecraft.” In preparation for Urban Studies

“Governing the Body: Biopolitics, Hygiene, and the Making of Architectural Standards in Meiji Japan.” In preparation for Journal for Society of Architectural Historians

“Blood and Oil: The Cold War Exchange of Architecture and Body.” In preparation for the Harvard CMES Workshop Inter-Asian Cold War Linkages.