About

Alice, Elizabeth, and James Turnbull, 2013As the tagline says, The Grand Narrative is all about discussing Korean feminism, sexuality, and popular culture, and in the last seven years has become one of the leading English-language sources on those topics, getting mentions in such sources as TIME, The Washington Post, BUST, CNN, The Associated Press, Slate, and Jezebel. Since November 2010, I have also become a frequent public speaker too, regularly giving lectures at universities across Korea and overseas.

With my limited time and finances however, unfortunately I can’t provide as much coverage on as many issues as I would like, so I focus on my own research interests of advertising, the media, body-image, and girl-groups. But I do still try to keep readers up to date with the latest news through Twitter and the blog’s Facebook page, and I often provide translations of Korean sources in my posts, aiming to pass on news and perspectives that English speakers would otherwise never get exposed to.

On a more personal note, I arrived in Jinju in Korea back in May 2000, moved with my Korean girlfriend to Busan in September 2003, and have been here ever since. We got married in May 2004, and had Alice in June 2006 and then Elizabeth in August 2008. Before that, I was born in England in 1976, spent most of my adolescence being dragged between England, Australia and New Zealand by my parents, and finally went to university in Auckland. Technically, I’m an UK citizen, but I’ve spent most of my adult life in Korea.

Recent and Forthcoming Guest Lectures, Conference Presentations, Articles, and Media Appearances and Mentions: 

December 2014

— “Give It to Me? The Impact of K-Pop’s Sexualization on Korean Advertising”, Culture and Commerce in the Traditional, Modern and Contemporary Asian Music Industries, Yonsei University, Seoul

July 2014

— “Trends in Korean Media and Body Image, 1997-2014″, Guest Lecture, Ewha Womans University, Seoul

June 2014

— “Trends in Korean Media and Body Image, 1997-2014″, Guest Lecture, Yonsei University, Seoul

May 2014

— “Trends in Korean Media and Body Image, 1997-2014″, Guest Lecture, Dankook University, Cheonan/Asan

— “Trends in Korean Media and Body Image, 1997-2014″, Guest Lecture, Ewha Womans University, Seoul

— Mention: “The Fight for Equality: Women’s struggle to defy prejudice, stereotypes, and tradition”, Groove

April 2014

— Mention: “Corée du Sud La quête du galbe”, Libération

— “When K-pop Gets Under Your Skin…”, Busan Haps

March 2014

— “Girls’ Generation? Gender, (Dis)Empowerment and K-pop”, The Korean Popular Culture Reader, Duke University Press (co-written with Dr. Stephen Epstein)

— “Trends in Korean Media and Body Image, 1997-2014″, Guest Lecture, Disruptive Voices, Seoul

February 2014

— “Hollaback! Korea: A Determined Group Works to Fight Sexual Harassment”, Busan Haps

December 2013

— Media Appearance: “Let’s Talk Busan”, Busan e-FM

— “The K-Pop Cringe: Is the Korean Wave Living Up to the Hype?”, Busan Haps

October 2013

— “Shaking the Model Taboo: More Korean magazines portraying Korean women as sexy”, Busan Haps

— “Sex and Gender Stereotypes in Korean Advertising”, Guest Lecture, Dongseo University, Busan

September 2013

— Mention: “Step aside Miley Cyrus, here comes K-Porn”, Global Post

August 2013

— “Hot Summer On Screen: Sizzling it up with More Provocative K-Pop”, Busan Haps

July 2013

— Media Appearance: “Let’s Talk Busan”, Busan e-FM

June 2013

— “Is too Much Study Indoors Destroying Students` Vision?”, Busan Haps

— Mention: “The RockTigers”, Paste

May 2013

— Mention: “The K-Pop Plastic Surgery Obsession”, The Atlantic

April 2013

— “Going Solo: The Korean trend of living alone”, Busan Haps

March 2013

— “Revealing the Korean Body Politic”, Guest Lecture, 10 Magazine Book Club, Seoul

February 2013

— “Crossing the Lines: The Trends Reshaping Women’s Bodies in Korea”, Busan Haps

January 2013

— Media Appearance: “The Morning Wave”, Busan e-FM

December 2012

— Mention: “Should pornography be censored?”, The Korea Herald

— “K-girl Power: The emerging trend of empowerment and sexuality in K-pop”, Busan Haps

November 2012

— Media Appearance: “Let’s Talk Busan”, Busan e-FM

— “Sex and Gender Stereotypes in Korean Advertising”, Guest Lecture, Busan e-FM Global Forum

— Mention: “‘Ladygate’ incidents point to misogyny on the Korean Internet”, Yonhap

October 2012

— Media Appearance: Radiowa Trójka

— “Sex and Gender Stereotypes in Korean Advertising”, Guest Lecture, Pusan National University

— Mention: “When fans go too far”, CNN

— Media Appearance: “Let’s Talk Busan”, Busan e-FM

— “Sex and Gender Stereotypes in Korean Advertising”, Guest Lecture, Dongseo University, Busan

— “Censors in Retreat”, Busan Haps

September 2012

— Mention: “For S. Korean men, makeup a foundation for success”, The Associated Press

August 2012

— “The Empowerment of The Pill in Korea”, Busan Haps

June 2012

— “Goodbye Madame Butterfly, Hello Sexless Marriage”, Busan Haps

May 2012

— “Sex and Gender Stereotypes in Korean Advertising”, Guest Lecture, Pusan National University

April 2012

— “Gender Advertisements in the Korean Context”, Guest Lecture, Pusan National University

— “Why are There So Many Celebrities in Korean Ads?”, Busan Haps

— Media Appearance: “Let’s Talk Busan”, Busan e-FM

March 2012

— Media Appearance: “Le sexe autour du monde” documentary interview, Eurêka! Productions

February 2012

— “Korea’s Hidden Smokers”, Busan Haps

January 2012

— Mention: “Thinking through Korean Appropriation of American Indians”. Sociological Images

December 2011

— “Reflexivities and Embodiment” Seminar and Workshop, Keimyung University, Daegu

November 2011

— Media Appearance: Gwangju Foreign Language Network

September 2011

— Mention: “South Korean Starlets Stuck with Offensive Bagel Girl Label”, BUST

July 2011

— “Should the Sexualization of Teens in K-Pop be Banned?”, The Korea Herald

— “Gender Advertisements in the Korean Context”, Guest Lecture, 4th Korea-America Student Conference, Pukyong National University, Busan

— Media Appearance: “Wirtschaftsfaktor Girlband”, Deutschland Radio

June 2011

— “Gender Advertisements in the Korean Context”, Guest Lecture, Pusan National University

— “Gender Advertisements in the Korean Context”, Guest Lecture, Sejong University, Seoul

May 2011

— “Girls’ Generation? Gender, (Dis)Empowerment and K-Pop”, Conference Presentation, University of California, Irvine (with Dr. Stephen Epstein)

April 2011

— “Gender Advertisements in the Korean Context”, Guest Lecture, Pusan National University

March 2011

— “Gender Advertisements in the Korean Context”, Guest Lecture, Royal Asiatic Society, Seoul

November 2010

— “An Introduction to Korean Gender Issues”, Guest Lecture, Wellesley College, Boston

June 2010

— “Blogging ’bout Love in the ROK”, Busan Haps

August 2009

— “Backlash: The Role of the Asian Financial Crisis in the Feminization of Korean Ideals of Male Beauty”, 6th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) Conference, Chungnam National University, Daejeon

March 2009

— Media Appearance: “Let’s Talk Busan”, Busan e-FM