In 2019, James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies will award up to three (3) grants, each in an amount up to $3,000, 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 2019

A completed application form and a faculty recommendation letter must be e-mailed to Michelle Silverio <> by 3:00 pm, Thursday, February 28, 2019. Award notifications will be e-mailed by mid-March.

2018–2019 Graduate Research Grant Recipients:

  • Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein (Ph.D. candidate, History) - Surveillance and Political Control in North Korea, 1954–1995
     Abstract:This application has three purposes, all of which will advance my dissertation progress. My dissertation examines the history of political control in North Korea, from the end of the Korean War until the famine of the 1990s. Using this grant, I will explore three main sources: the Swedish Foreign Ministry archives from the embassy in North Korea, Library of Congress’s extensive collection of North Korean materials in Washington D.C., and archives and interviews with North Korean defectors in Seoul. A grant from the Kim Program would enable this transnational research, involving sources rarely used in research on North Korea.
  • Eunji Kim (Ph.D. candidate, Political Science & Annenberg School for Communication) - The Collision of Political and Celebrity Scandals: How Legacies of Authoritarianism Resonate in the Public Mind
     Abstract: Distracting citizens from politics is the raison d'être of authoritarian governments, and often the toolkit includes entertainment media. South Korea under the Chun’s military regime was no exception to this rule, actively promoting the so-called “3S” (sex, screen, and sport) policy in 1980s. Despite Korea’s successful transition to democracy, the memories of the government manipulating mass media have yet to fade out. The most widespread rumor is that the government is intentionally leaking celebrity scandals to divert public attention from contemporaneous political scandals. Using a nationally representative survey as well as the original database of political and celebrity scandals, this project aims to offer the first empirical evidence on the widespread conspiracy of government-led media control.
  • Boxi Liu (M.A. student, East Asian Language and Civilizations) - Golden Crown: The Koguryo Influence on the Han Mural Tombs in Northeastern China
     Abstract: In 1931, Japanese archaeologists discovered the image of a guardian creature wearing a golden crown from an Eastern Han mural tomb of Yingchengzi, which is located in Liaoning Province, China. It is plausible that the symbol of golden crown derived from Puyŏ or Koguryŏ culture, and the discovery of such symbol indicates that cross-cultural encounter occurred around the 2nd-3rd CE between the Han and the Puyŏ or Koguryŏ cultures. This research project aims to uncover the origin of the symbol of the golden crown, and further untangle the relationship between the two neighboring ancient civilizations in the funerary culture aspect. To achieve the research objective, the author looks forward to making field trips to the Koguryŏ aristocratic tombs, Kwanggaet'o stele in Jilin Province, and several related Han tombs in Liaoning Province in May 2018.