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Kirsten Younghee Song


Dr. Song received an M.A. and Ph.D in sociology from Rutgers University. She also earned an M.A. in gerontology from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Dr. Song’s research has focused on transnationalism, international migration, culture, identity, and life course. Her most recent work examines the transition to adulthood among Korean educational migrants in the U.S. and how economic, social, cultural, and institutional resources/constraints shape their decision-making about everyday lives and distant futures between Korea and the U.S. Focusing on the liminal nature of young adulthood (i.e., no longer adolescents, but yet not fully self-sufficient adults) in particular, her research highlights the significance of life stage in shaping migration trajectories in that it constructs distinct needs, desires, and abilities of individuals at a certain time period of their life course and further works to facilitate and/or hinder migrants’ life opportunities.

As a cultural sociologist, her past research engages more broadly in the area of national identities, generational differences in cultural practices, news media, emotions, and engaged-learning. She published a comparative study of Koreans’ collective memories in the U.S. and Korea, a news narrative analysis of a Korean national crisis, and implementation of mindfulness practices to a sociology classroom and its implication on engaged learning. 

Dr. Song currently works on international college students’ engagement in campus and local communities and more broadly curriculum and campus internationalization.  

Selected Publications

Song, Kirsten Y. 2015. “Emotion Culture as a Resource of Sensemaking: Transforming an Arson Case of a Korean National Heritage to Citizens' Responsibility.” Conditional Acceptance at Poetics – a Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media, and the Arts. 

Song, Kirsten Y. 2015. “Between Global Dreams and National Duties: the Dilemma of Conscription Duty in the Transnational Lives of Young Korean Males.” Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs 15(1): 60-77. 

Song, Kirsten Y. and Glenn Muschert. 2014. “Opening the Contemplative Mind in the Sociology Classroom.” Humanity and Society 38(3):314-38.

Courses Taught

  • SOCA 101 Introduction to Sociology
  • SOCA 207 Social Problems
  • SOCA 223 Death and Dying