Professor Hae Yeon Choo’s research centers on gender, citizenship, transnational migration, and urban sociology to examine global social inequality. In her empirical and theoretical work, she employs an intersectional approach to social inequalities, integrating gender, race, and class in her analyses. This approach provided the foundation for an article published in Sociological Theory in 2010 (with Myra Marx Ferree), which offers an intersectional methodology to address the complex dimensions of analysis in sociological research. She has also translated Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider and Patricia Hill Collins’s Black Feminist Thought into Korean.
Her book Decentering Citizenship: Gender, Labor, and Migrant Rights in South Korea (Stanford University Press, 2016) and related articles (published in Gender & Society and Qualitative Sociology) offer an account of how inequalities of gender, race, and class affect migrants’ practice of rights through a comparative study of three groups of Filipina women in South Korea—factory workers, wives of South Korean men, and hostesses at American military camptown clubs. Based on 18 months of multi-sited ethnographic research, this research delves into the marginal spaces in which non-citizen migrants negotiate their rights, entitlements, and belonging in South Korea in the absence of shared ethnic nationhood, and develop an understanding of citizenship, not as a simple legal category, defined in top-down fashion for an individual by a nation-state, but rather as an interactive accomplishment involving both the host society and the migrants as active agents constrained by the structures of law and policy.
As the 2018-2019 Deutsche Bank Member of Institute for Advanced Study (School of Social Science, Princeton, NJ), she currently examines the politics of land ownership in contemporary South Korea, delving into macro-level political contestations over land rights, together with the narratives of people who pursue class mobility through real estate speculation.