Ph.D. Student in East Asian Studies, Literary Translator, and Editor-in-Chief of Nabillera: Contemporary Korean Literature
Hello, my name is Shyun Jeong Ahn (안정수현, 安丁秀賢), of which Jeong is my mother’s last name and my middle name. You can pronounce my name either as “s-hyun”(su-hyun) or “sh-yun”(shawn). Born and grew up in Daegu, South Korea, I am a Korean-American who identify with both sides of this status.
As of Fall 2019, I will be a doctoral student in East Asian Studies at Princeton University. My interest area mainly involves Korean cultural studies, though not limited to the geographical boundary of the Korean peninsula. Specifically, I like to think about a queer analysis of modern Korean intellectual and ideological discourses as well as their literary and cinematic examples. I received my undergraduate education at Tufts University, where I double-majored in Philosophy and International Literary and Visual Studies (comparative literature).
In my free time, I translate Korean poems into English and write short stories. I also run a Korean-English translation magazine Nabillera: Contemporary Korean Literature.
In fall 2019, I will become a Ph.D. student in East Asian Studies at Princeton University. My intellectual interest encompasses the notion of a body and the issues related to it, such as gender and sexuality, ranging from the premodern to early modern periods. To be specific, I want to take two approaches that are distinctive but not mutually exclusive: 1. examining Korean neo-Confucian arguments surrounding li (理) and ki (氣) in an analytic manner (philosophy; history of philosophy) and 2. investigating how the ideas of a body have been expressed through various cultural products (cultural studies; history of ideas). Obviously, these projects are extremely ambitious and broad, and I am in the process of narrowing down the topic of my interest.
Prior to this, I spent my undergraduate years at Tufts University, where I double-majored in Philosophy and International Literary and Visual Studies and graduated with Summa Cum Laude and Highest Thesis Honors. At Tufts, with the guidance of Dr. Lee Edelman and Dr. Charles Inouye, I conducted research on gender and sexuality in colonial Korea and modern North Korea. I largely focused on the queer interpretation of political ideology in each regime and substantiated my claim through literary and cinematic examples. With the summary of the North Korean part of this research, I won a writing competition open for both undergraduate and graduate students and presented it internationally. I have also taken courses and seminars outside the United States in order to enhance my understanding of queer and gender studies and East Asian philosophy.
Other than Korean and English, I am proficient in Japanese, and I conducted research for my undergraduate thesis with all three languages. I can also read modern Mandarin and Classical Chinese, though on a rudimentary level.
For further details, see my C.V. on the top of the page
Even though I have translated academic papers on Korean philosophy, street interviews, and non-academic journal articles, I have been most active in literary translation from Korean to English. While I think literary translation is a distinctive art genre that plays with the delicate difference between the languages, I believe that the finest quality can be attained only when a translator truthfully translates the original work. And by “truthfully,” I do not mean either a literal or liberal translation but a clever combination of both that reenacts the reading experience of Korean readers.
With this belief, in December 2014, I began to translate and share Korean poems in English on AhnTranslation. Since then, I have translated for Humans of Seoul (Dec. 2015 – present), ILDA South Korean Feminist Journal (Jan. 2017 – Jan. 2018), and Time to Read Poems, the Documentary (Oct. 2016). My translations of Korean poems have also appeared in different venues, such as a middle school IB textbook and the official use of the Bucheon City of Literature.
In addition, in December 2016, I embarked on a Korean literary magazine project and have been a founder and Editor-in-Chief of Nabillera: Contemporary Korean Literature since then. Through Nabillera, I hope to introduce novel attempts taking place in the Korean literary circle to English readers. Currently, I am translating Kim Hyun’s Glory Hole, under contract with Seagull Books.
I take pictures when I travel. Instagram
You can also reach me at email@example.com.