The Nam Center has been announced as a 2021 Academy of Korean Studies Strategic Research Institute Program grant recipient. The global search selected just two universities for this award cycle. The Center will receive a total of one billion Korean won, approximately $850,000 USD. Youngju Ryu, associate professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, will serve as the project director and be supported by Dr. Rory Walsh, Nam Center Research Fellow, and Kelsey Langton, Nam Center Administrator. 

The grant will fund a multi-year project titled, “Spreadable Scholarship: Media-driven Research, Teaching, and Reticulation of Korean Studies in the American Midwest,” whose aim is to enhance the accessibility of Korean Studies through a number of digitally-borne and open-source initiatives. The project team consists of nine faculty members in multiple units across the University including College of Literature, Science and the Arts, Ross School of Business, and Stamps School of Art and Design. The project will add to the already robust programming offered by the Center and build upon the legacy created in the last decade under the AKS Core University Program grant, “Visioning Korea for the Next Generation,” administered under the leadership of former Director Nojin Kwak. 

“This grant places the Nam Center in an excellent position to continue its innovations in Korean Studies at an exciting time. Korean Studies is poised at the cusp of explosive, exponential growth,” Ryu said. “But none of what we have done and what we hope to do would be possible without the Center’s devoted staff--Kelsey Langton, Evan Vowell, and Kate Klemm. As the new director, I am grateful that the Nam Center has been blessed with that most precious gift of all, the gift of talented people.”