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Senior Lecturer in Korean Studies, University of Sheffield

Dr Sarah Son joined SEAS in August 2019. She completed her PhD on identity and inter-Korean relations at the SOAS in London in 2014, before spending five years working in South Korea in the non-profit sector on North Korean human rights issues. Her work there included human rights research and monitoring; reporting and media engagement; consulting with the United Nations, foreign missions and advocacy organisations; project management and human rights documentation training for organisations both in and outside Korea.

Her current research interests include methods of monitoring and recording human rights abuses in North Korea, as well as activism among North Korean escapees both in South Korea and internationally.

Dr. Son also conducts and supervises research on themes including migration and diaspora, popular culture, international relations, nation branding, identity, security and peace-building, with a focus on both the Korean Peninsula and East Asia more broadly.

Within Sheffield’s School of East Asian Studies, Dr. Son teaches on the Korean Studies undergraduate programme, the East Asian Studies MA and MSc programmes, and runs the Centre for Korean Studies.


  • –present
    Lecturer in Korean Studies, University of Sheffield
  • 2015–2019
    Research Director, Transitional Justice Working Group (Seoul)
  • 2015–2017
    Postdoctoral research associate, School of Oriental and African Studies
  • 2015–2015
    Postdoctoral research fellow, Academy of Korean Studies
  • 2014–2014
    Postdoctoral research fellow, Asiatic Research Institute, Korea University


  • 2014 
    School of Oriental and African Studies, PhD, Korean Studies
  • 2005 
    School of Oriental and African Studies, MA International Studies and Diplomacy
  • 2000 
    Bond University, BA International Relations


  • 2020
    Chasing Justice: Victim Engagement with Accountability for Human Rights Abuses in North Korea, Asian Studies Review
  • 2019
    National Identity and Social Integration in International Marriages between Anglophone Women and Korean Men: When Love and Culture Clash, Asian Survey
  • 2019
    Propaganda, Survival, and Living to Tell the Truth: An Analysis of North Korean Refugee Memoirs, The Palgrave Handbook of Deceptive Communication
  • 2018
    South Korea's North Korean Image Problem: Human Rights Under the Spotlight, Asian Studies Review
  • 2018
    North Korea's Human Rights Insecurity: State Image Management in the Post‐UN COI Era, Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies
  • 2016
    Identity, security and the nation: understanding the South Korean response to North Korean defectors, Asian Ethnicity
  • 2015
    Unity, Division and Ideational Security on the Korean Peninsula: Challenges to Overcoming the Korean Conflict, North Korean Review