In 2018, James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies will award up to three (3) grants, each in an amount up to $2,500, to assist Penn graduate students in their research on Korea. Any student enrolled in a graduate degree program at Penn is eligible to apply. 

Kim Program_Graduate_Research_Grant_Application_Form (2018).docx

A completed application form and a faculty recommendation letter must be e-mailed to Samantha Koo <> by 3:00 pm, Wednesday, February 28, 2018. Award notifications will be e-mailed by mid-March.

2017–2018 Graduate Research Grant Recipients:

  • John Grisafi (M.A. student, East Asian Language and Civilizations, concentration in Korean Studies)
    Abstract: The conclusion of the Second World War brought an end to Japanese rule over Korea and began a three year period of U.S. military governance over the southern part of Korea (1945-1948). During this period, the South Korean state and society took shape. I propose that several factors shaped attitudes and polices toward religion and its relationship with state and society, including the legacy of Japanese colonial religious policies, the policies and input of the United States Army Military Government in Korea, and growing anti-communism and early North-South relations. My research is intended to examine and develop this hypothesis.

  • Jeein Jeong (Ph.D. student, Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development, Graduate School of Education)
    Abstract: Children’s understanding of learning and their motivation for learning start to develop before school. However, very little is known about the development of young children’s motivation for learning, and how the social context influences it. The current research will investigate how young Korean children’s understanding of and motivation for learning develops, and how social and parental expectations affect this process. These results will be also compared to children in the U.S. Through interviewing children, parents and teachers and observation of children’s learning in Korea and the U.S, I want to find directions to reshape and enhance education in both societies.

  • Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein (Ph.D. student, History)
    Abstract: In the late 1950s, North Korea took several important steps in legal and political terms to establish key tenets of its surveillance system, such as the Songbun classification system for family background, and began administrative detention as a practice for those deemed politically suspicious. This, I believe, was part of the process of reorganizing society along certain ideological norms, rather than just a quest for regime control and domination – in short, what Zygmunt Bauman has called social “gardening.” To lay the foundation for the research for my dissertation on surveillance in North Korea, I plan to further study these legal and social changes, in order to better explore the North Korean state’s project and social ambitions of this time.