Assistant Professor Myungji Yang
I was born and raised in South Korea during a time of intense political activism in the 1980s. Having watched street protests and tear gas attacks by the police early on in my life, I was always intrigued by why ordinary people took to the streets and what they fought for at the risk of their lives. This curiosity led me to study sociology in college. After earning my BA and MA in Sociology at Yonsei University in Korea, I came to the US to pursue my PhD. I completed my PhD in Sociology at Brown University in 2012 and taught at Rhode Island College for a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor.
I am a comparativist who studies the politics of development using qualitative methods. My research is particularly concerned with the nexus between authoritarian regimes, identity politics, and development in South Korea and China. My doctoral dissertation dealt with how authoritarian regimes nurtured the urban middle classes in South Korea and China in order to reconstruct the nation and strengthen political legitimacy. I am currently working on a book manuscript based on my dissertation work.