Jo Elfving-Hwang

Associate Professor, BA PhD Sheff., SFHEA

  • The University of Western Australia (M257), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I am an Associate Professor of Korean Studies in the School of Social Sciences, and Director of the Korea Research Centre at UWA. After completing my PhD at Sheffield University in the UK, I was Director of Korean Studies at Frankfurt University (Goethe Universitaet Frankfurt am Main), and before that I worked at Sheffield University, Leeds University and Sheffield Hallam University in the UK in various academic positions. I am an enthusiastic "Koreanist" and have served in a number of elected positions to promote Korean Studies both in academia and in the industry. I am the current Vice President and immediate former President of the Korean Studies Association of Australasia (KSAA) and previously served as the Treasurer for KSAA. I am also currently serving as an Executive Board Member of the Australia-Korea Business Council or Western Australia (AKBCWA).

In my own institution I am an education enthusiast, and have previously served as the Deputy Head of School of Social Sciences with the responsibility for the Teaching & Learning portfolio. I currently serve in a number of committees, including the University Board of Discipline, the Appeals Committee of the Academic Board, and the Academic Workloads Advisory Committee (AWAC).

Roles and responsibilities

Current Roles:

  • Director of the Korea Research Centre
  • Member of the University of Board of Discipline
  • Member of the Appeals Committee of the Academic Board
  • Academic Workloads Advisory Committee
  • Teaching & Research Staff member

Previous Roles:

  • Deputy Head of School (Social Sciences, Teaching & Learning Portfolio) (2017-2020)
  • Discipline Chair  of Asian Studies (2016)
  • Convenor of Korean Studies (2012-2015)
  • Graduate Research Coordinator (Social Sciences) (2013-2015)
  • Member of the Academic Board (2015-2019)
  • Academic Conduct Adviser(2017-2019)
  • Member of the Faculty Teaching and Learning & Curriculum Committees (2014-2020)
  • Salary Progression Committee (Professional Staff), VC's nominee (2015-2016)

Future research

I have forthcoming publications on aspirational beauty and ageing in Korea; cinematic representations of ageing in Korea; co-authored paper on rethinking the femme fatale in Korean cinema, as well as co-authored paper on perceptions of ideal 'Australian beauty' among Asian Australian youth.

Funding overview

Total of over AUS$ 2,000,000 competitive jury grant success since 2007 for both research and enhancing teaching & learning:


  1. Elfving-Hwang, J. (Project Director), Han, S., Broomhall, S., Fraschini, N., “Establishment of Korea Research Centre in Western Australia” (AKS-2020-OLU-20200039), Academy of Korean Studies (ROK) (A$1,106,000), 2020-2025.
  2. Fraschini, N. & Elfving-Hwang, J., “Introducing Korea and Korean Studies to Western Australian School Educators: Embedding Korea into the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Curriculum”, Korean Foundation grant for Korean Studies workshop for non-native educators (A$25,000).


  1. Fraschini, N. & Elfving-Hwang, J., “Introducing Korea and Korean Studies to Western Australian School Educators: Embedding Korea into the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Curriculum”, Korean Foundation grant for Korean Studies workshop for non-native educators (A$28,000).


  1. “Social Research on Health: Addressing Anti-Health Messaging in a Digital Era”, Cover, R. I., Fozdar, F., Elfving-Hwang, J., Han, S., Attwell, K., Bartlett, A., Carr, S., Mavaddat, N. & Atkins, M., UWA Research Impact Grants (A$20,000)


  1. Academy of Korean Studies (Seoul, South Korea) competitive international research grant (US$15,000), 2017: 'Man Made Beautiful: A Qualitative Study of the Social Meanings Attached to Everyday Beauty Practices by Korean Salarymen'
  2. Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade - Australia Korea Competitive Grant, 2017 ($15,000), Associate Professor Joanna Elfving-Hwang, Mr Iain Watt, Professor Wendy Erber, Professor Leonard Collard, Professor Ian McArthur, 'Promoting Australia in Korea: The Second UWA-SKKU Partnership Forum' 


  1. Teaching Relief Grant ($20,000), UWA, 2016: “What Does An Australian Look Like? Appearance and Australianness among Asian-Australian Young People”
  2. UWA Research Collaboration Awards, UWA, 2016 ($20,000): Professor Loretta Baldassar, Dr Raelene Wilding, Associate Professor Christopher Etherton-Beer, Dr Judy Esmond, Associate Professor Joanna Elfving-Hwang, Dr Helen Manchester, Dr Ivalyo Vassilev, Professor Gonzalo Bacigalupe, Dr Sanetta Du Toit, Dr Majella Kilkey, Professor Hengjin Dong, Professor Cornelia Schweppe, Professor Paolo Boccagni, Dr Jyotsna Kalavar, Associate Professor Leng Thang, Associate Professor Elaine Ho, 2016: 'Ageing and New Media'


  1. Academy of Korean Studies (Seoul, South Korea) competitive international research grant (US$15,000), 2014-2015: "Elderly Korean Women's Somatic Subjectivities and Technologies of Self in an Image-Conscious Society"
  2. UWA Research Collaboration Awards ($16,000) with Rob Cover (CI), Farida Fozdar and Loretta Baldassar, 2014-2015: 'Community, Popular and Digital Media in Migrant Settlement, Integration and Resilience: Mobilities and Belonging'


  1. Grant for Establishing a Chair in Korean Culture and Society, Korea Foundation (€500,000) at Frankfurt University, 2013: A grant to establish a Level D (W2) Chair of Korean Society and Culture at Frankfurt University – I continued to work on and support this application after leaving Frankfurt. 
  2. BMBF Major Grants (€3.98 million) (Federal Ministry for Education and Research, Germany), 2013-2017: Secured a joint research grant totalling €3.98 million for a research project on Asian engagement in Africa with 15 other colleagues based in Frankfurt. A joint research project between the Interdisciplinary Centre for East Asian Studies (IZO) and the Centre for Interdisciplinary African Studies (ZIAF) to run from 2013 until 2017.


  1. Frankfurt University QSL (Enhancing Quality in Teaching and Learning) Grant, 2011 (€8,975)
  2. Korean Literature Translation Institute Workshop Grant (KLTI, Seoul), 2011 (€12,000) to organise a Korean Literature Translation workshop at Frankfurt University in October 2011.
  3. Korean Literature Translation Institute Residential Program Grant, 2011, A travel grant (US$2,000) to conduct field research in September 2011 at Korean Literature Translation Institute in Seoul, South Korea.
  4. Frankfurt University QSL (Enhancing Quality in Teaching and Learning) Grant, 2011, Institutional Grant (€7,500) to fund the development of additional teaching materials for Korean language teaching


  1. Korean Literature Translation Institute International Exchange Grant, 2010  (US$2,500)


  1. Daesan Foundation Field Research Grant for Korean Literature, 2009, for a project titled ‘Representations of the “Other” Korean in South and North Korean literatures of the Cold War period’ (US$5,000)
  2. Korean Literature Translation Institute International Exchange Grant, 2009 (US$2,500)
  3. Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship 2007/2008, 2007, Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, University of Leeds, for the academic year 2007-2008 (GBP £30,000)

Previous positions

Director of Korean Studies, Junior Professor of Korean Society and Culture (Frankfurt University, Germany)

Academic Developer and Researcher (Sheffield Hallam University Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, UK)

Korea Foundation Postdoc Research Fellowship (Leeds University, UK)

Visiting Lecturer in Korean Literature (Sheffield University, UK)

Industrial relevance

I am available for consultancy work on any area of Korean beauty industries and appearance cultures, Korean popular culture and cultural diplomacy, ageing in Korea. 

Teaching overview

ASIA3006 Contemporary Korean Society
KORE2811 Readings in Korean Language and Culture
ASIA2004 Asian Popular Culture

Courses taught previously:

KORE2401 and KORE2402(Intermediate Korean)
HERI5105 Heritage and Development in Asia
ASIA5002 Critical Cultural Engagement in Asia

GEND3903 Screening GenderContemporary Korean Society 

Colonial Korean Literature
Contemporary Korean Literature (undergraduate and postgraduate)
Korean Culture and Society though Critical Feminist Theory (postgraduate)
North and South Korean Cultural Politics (undergraduate and postgraduate)
Introduction to Korean Studies (undergraduate)
Disciplining the Body: A Critical Theory Course (postgraduate)
Modern Korean Literature (1910-1950s)


My research interests are all in one way or another concerned with Korean Studies and cultural sociology of the body in Korea in particular, and I am currently completing a manuscript tentatively titled “Cosmetic Matters: Beauty Cultures and the Body in Korea”.

In addition to beauty and cultural sociology, my work is concerned with cultural gerontology and ageing in South Korea, as well as Korean popular culture in its myriad forms including cinema, television and popular music.



Research expertise keywords

  • Beauty
  • Cosmetic Surgery
  • Popular Culture In Asia
  • Korean Cinema
  • Ageing
  • South Korea
  • North Korea
  • Cosmetic surgery in Korea
  • Korean literature
  • South Korean pop culture and gender
  • Korean cultural diplomacy


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