About

James Turnbull 25 April 2013

As the tagline says, The Grand Narrative is all about Korean feminism, sexuality, and popular culture, and in the last 9 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 2010, I have also become a freelance writer and frequent public speaker too, regularly giving lectures at universities and institutions across Korea and overseas.

With my limited time and finances however, unfortunately I can only cover a very small fraction of the issues I would like to. So, these days I concentrate on topics that have gotten little or no coverage in the English-language media, aiming to pass on news and perspectives that people that don’t speak Korean would otherwise never get exposed to. I also try to keep readers up to date on the latest feminism and sexuality news from Northeast Asia via my Twitter and the blog’s Facebook page.

That all requires a lot of time however, and this blog represents 1000s of unpaid hours of researching, translating, and writing. So, if you like what you read on it, and/or have ever found it useful, please consider helping me to keep it going by making a small donation via the button below :)

Finally, on a more personal note, I’m British, I spent my teenage years in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, and I graduated from the University of Auckland. I’ve lived in Korea for 16 years now, and am married with two daughters. I teach at Dongseo University in Busan.

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

October 2016

— “An epic battle between feminism and deep-seated misogyny is under way in South Korea”, Quartz

August 2016

— Interview, Inside Out Busan

July 2016

— “For Women In Korean Pop, ‘Making It’ Can Mean A Makeover”, NPR Music

— “Sex crimes in South Korea”, VOA Asia Weekly

— “Male or Female Alcopops? South Koreans Pick One”, Zester Daily

June 2016

— “Tackling body shaming in South Korea”, The Korea Herald

May 2016

— “South Korean Men and Grooming”, Askmen

March 2016

— “Let’s talk about sex, baby”, Taz

December 2015

— “One Size Fits All in South Korea, As Long as That Size Is Small”, Racked

April 2015

— “The Thigh Gap Obesession”, Busan Haps

March 2015

— Interview, Groove Korea

February 2015

— Podcast Interview: Notebook on Cities and Culture

— “A Weighty Matter: Are Koreans Really Getting too Fat?”, Busan Haps

January 2015

— Podcast Interview: Korea and the World

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

November 2014

— “Korea’s Gender Imbalance: The Fight for Power”, Busan Haps

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