International Institute of Korean Studies

About The International Institute of Korean Studies

  • IKSU is a hub of research, teaching and public policy on the two Koreas. IKSU is home to teaching from undergraduate degrees through to doctoral work and provides innovative research and insight from the fields of Humanities and social science.

    UCLan's International Institute of Korean Studies - Skyline

In 2012, building on over twenty years of and research in East Asian Studies, especially in Japanese and Chinese studies, UCLan made a strategic decision to substantially invest, from its own resources, in Korean Studies. In 2012/2013, the university launched three undergraduate degrees, in which the Korean language is studied as a core language: Asia-Pacific Studies, Modern languages and Teaching English as a Second Language. Student interest was high from the inception of the degrees and numbers have grown along with the numbers of staff employed by the university to teach Korean language and Korean Studies.

The International Institute of Korean Studies –UCLan (IKSU) was formally launched in 2014 to bring together the wide range of Korea-related activities with which UCLan is engaged, across the university, in research, teaching and public policy. The intellectual focus of IKSU is the two Koreas. The emphasis is on investigating post-division international relations, politics, society and culture in both the Republic of Korea (the ROK or South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the DPRK or North Korea) – what is idiosyncratic to each and what are the commonalities between the two states and societies after seventy years of political division.

Many of our students are interested in and excited by the contemporary culture of South Korea – from KPop to movies to fashion to gastronomy to sport. Our degrees explore Korean culture as a global phenomenon. UCLan students have been financially supported by the university to visit South Korea and IKSU maintains active exchange partnerships with universities in South Korea for the benefit of our students. Students have taken short courses in South Korea and have study for a year in a Korean university as part of their degrees.

Professor Hazel Smith and Dr. Ryu Kil-Jae

Professor Hazel Smith and Dr. Ryoo Kihl Jae, Minister of Unification, Republic of Korea (2013-2015)

Meet the team

Blue line break 

Dr Niki Alsford

Dr Niki Alsford is Lecturer in Asia Pacific Studies at the School of Languages & Global Studies at UCLan. Dr Alsford welcomes proposals for doctoral research on Taiwan history and society, with emphasis on nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Prior to joining UCLan, Dr Alsford was Research Fellow at the Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences as part of a research project titled: Power and Strategies of Social and Political Order of which his contribution was primarily the continuation of his work on comparative Taiwan social history. A core part of this project explored the formation and development of urban spaces in the Asia Pacific region. Dr Alsford is an appointed Research Associate at the Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS, the University of London and is an elected executive board member of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) as well as a strand convenor for the Social History Society. He has worked on a number of collaborative projects that include the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines and the Council of Indigenous Peoples. Please view Dr Alsford’s full biography and social media.

Xi Chen

Xi Chen is the associate lecturer in Korean. She has been teaching Korean and Chinese for over five years. Xi is currently completing her doctoral studies at School of Oriental and African Studies. Her research interests include pragmatics, applied linguistics and linguistics in East Asian languages. Please view Xi Chen's full biography.

Dr Philip Constable

Dr. Philip Constable (B.A (Hons), M.A., Ph.D) lectures on the 19th and 20th-century history of Asia. His lecturing focuses on nationalism and imperialism in Asia in the 19th and early 20th centuries and on comparative histories of the Cold War in Asia 1945-89, especially south-east and east Asia. He supervises Ph.D theses on topics related to religion and politics, colonialism and state formation in Asia. He was appointed to UCLan as foundational Course Director for the successful B.A. (Hons) Modern World History programme. His research interests focus on Dalit history and politics in 19th and 20th-century south Asia, and Buddhist identity and politics in 19th and 20th-century south-east Asia.

Please view Dr Constable’s full biography.

Dr. Ed Griffith

Ed Griffith

Ed joined UCLan in September 2014 for the rapidly expanding Asia-Pacific Studies. He is continuing to work on research into the Sino-Japanese relationship and different perspectives on East Asian international relations more generally. He holds: a Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from the University of Leeds, an M.A. in Japanese Studies, also from the University of Leeds, another M.A. in Chinese Studies from SOAS and a B.A. (Hons.) in International Relations & Global Politics from Nottingham Trent University, 2007. Ed Griffith’s research interests are mainly focused on the international relations of East Asia, in particular the Sino-Japanese relationship and China’s approach to its own changing role in the region. He is interested in exploring how established IR theories can be adapted to deepen our understanding of China’s behaviour in developing its relationships with neighbouring countries.

Professor John Horne

John Horne

John Horne is Professor of Sport and Sociology in the School of Sport and Wellbeing at the University of Central Lancashire. His books include Sport and Social Movements (2014), Understanding Sport (2013), Understanding the Olympics (2012), Sport in Consumer Culture (2006), Football Goes East (2004) and Japan, Korea and the 2002 World Cup (2002). He was appointed as a member of the sub panel (26) for ‘Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism’ in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), elected as an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS) in 2012, and is convenor of the British Sociological Association ‘Sport Study Group’. Please view John Horne's full biography and publications.

Dr Jun Suk Hyun

DR Jun Suk HyunDr Hyun joined to the IKSU as a visiting academic of the Korea Foundation. He teaches a range of modules at different levels in Asian history and culture. His research focuses on the Cold War in Asia and the Pacific, U.S.-Korea relations, and nuclear history.


  • PhD History, University of Georgia, 2015
  • MA History, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2008
  • LLB Seoul National University, 2000

Dr Hae-Sung Jeon

Dr Hae-Sung Jeon

Dr Hae-Sung Jeon was awarded a Ph.D. from the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at the University of Cambridge in 2012. Dr. Jeon was Research Associate at the Phonetics Laboratory, University of Cambridge, prior to joining UCLan in September 2012. Her areas of expertise are acoustic phonetics, laboratory phonology and Korean linguistics. Her current research projects are on the Korean fricatives, word segmentation in Korean, and perception of linguistic pitch and rhythm. As Subject Leader of Korean Studies, she has developed undergraduate curriculum at UCLan. Please view Hae-Sung's full biography and publications.

Jungmin Lee

Jungmin Lee

Jungmin Lee is an associate lecturer in Korean language and culture. She has ten years of experience teaching Korean as a second language to university students. Prior to joining UCLan, Jungmin taught at Kyoungin Women’s University and Yongin University and has worked to develop and modernise Korean language curricula. Her main interests include bilingual education, student motivation in foreign languages and textbook design. Jungmin holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching Korean as a Second Language, Seoul National University, an MA in International Area Studies from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and a BA in Political Science and Diplomacy from Sogang University. Her publications include Park, Miroung, Lee, Jungmin & Cha, Haekyoung 2012 My Korean Friend 1, Seoul, Hankook Munhwasa. (In Korean); and Moon, Sunhee, Burg, Damon & Lee, Jungmin 2011 Conversations in the Fashion Industry, Seoul, Sidaegosi, (In Korean).

Dr Sojin Lim

Dr Sojin Lim

Dr Sojin Lim is Lecturer in Korean Studies at the School of Languages and Global Studies of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Prior to joining UCLan, Dr Lim worked for aid agencies as senior research fellow with hands-on field experiences. She also worked as external lecturer in universities in Korea. Dr Lim has conducted various projects with international organisations as well. She obtained a BA and a MA from Ewha Womans University, and a PhD from the Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM) at the University of Manchester. Dr Lim’s research interests lie at development studies, public policy, and political economy: development experience of South Korea; transformation of state system, including fragile states such as North Korea; institutional development and public policy in developing countries; global norms and compliance and so on. Please view Sojin’s full biography.

Dr Seonghye Moon

Dr Seonghye Moon is IKSU Project Manager. She has a PhD in Education from the University of Reading. Her doctorate involved a critical ethnographic case study of Korean sojourner families in the UK, with a focus on globalization, educational migration, language, culture and identity. Before Dr Moon came to UCLan, she worked on various research projects in several UK universities including Cambridge, Reading and Bath Spa. Her ongoing research interests are in language and education, in particular issues related to bilingualism and multilingualism. She has managed several educational programmes and projects both in the UK and Korea. One of her projects was the successful development and management of a course on English language and British culture for Korean university students at the University of Reading. She has also worked as an educational consultant on a wide range of issues related to EAL, academic skills and qualitative research methods in social sciences.

Paul Rowe

Paul Rowe

Paul Rowe works as the Director for International and Academic Business Development for the School of Languages & Global Studies at UCLan, promoting the School’s portfolio of programmes and maintaining and developing its numerous international partnerships. Following a period of nine years in Japan and Spain teaching and training in language schools and multi-national corporations, Paul has managed and taught on large English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), English for Academic Purposes programmes (EAP) and teacher training programmes in both Further and Higher Education contexts in the U.K.

Professor Hazel Smith

Professor Hazel Smith

Professor Smith is Director of the International Institute of Korean Studies. Prior to joining UCLan, Hazel was Professor of International Security at Cranfield University and Professor of International Relations at the University of Warwick and is currently honorary Professorial Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Professor Smith has published extensively on North Korea and Korean security over more than twenty five years; her recent, widely acclaimed, book is North Korea: Markets and Military Rule (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Professor Smith has been awarded a number of prestigious international fellowships including visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars in Washington DC, 2012/2013; the POSCO fellowship at the East-West Centre, Honolulu, 2008 and 2015; Jennings Randolph Visiting Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC, 2001/2002; Fulbright scholar and visiting fellow at Stanford University, 1994/1995. Professor Smith is regularly consulted by international organisations, governmental agencies and NGOs as well as the national and international media.

Professor Smith was seconded to the United Nations University in Tokyo from April 2002 to August 2004; and to the United Nations World Food Programme and UNICEF as senior programme adviser for two years in North Korea, where she worked in 11 of the then 12 North Korean provinces, in rural and urban areas, working on a day to day basis with North Koreans from every background – and is the proud owner of a North Korean (still valid) driving licence.

Please view Hazel's full biography and publications.

Dr. Yu Tao

Yu Tao

Dr. Yu Tao (DPhil, MPhil, dual BAs) is Senior Lecturer in Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), where he teaches Area Studies and Development Studies, supervises MA and PhD students, and serves as course leader for one of the largest undergraduate programme in the university. Trained as a political sociologist in Oxford, Cambridge, and PKU, his research mainly focuses on the role of religious groups in secular social movements and contentious politics in authoritarian settings. Yu's publication has appeared in reputable academic journals in English and in Chinese. He is a winner of the Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad. Before completing his doctorate at Oxford, he was a former Dahrendorf Scholar at St. Antony's College and a former China Oxford Scholar at Merton College.

For more information, please view Yu's full biography and publications.

Professor Keyuan Zou

Professor Keyuan Zou

Professor Keyuan Zou is Harris Professor of International Law at the Lancashire Law School of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), United Kingdom. He specializes in international law, in particular law of the sea and international environmental law. Before joining UCLan, he worked at Dalhousie University (Canada), Peking University (China), University of Hannover (Germany) and National University of Singapore. He has published over 60 refereed English papers in 30 international journals. His publications include: International Law in East Asia (Ashgate, 2011), and Securing the Safety of Navigation in East Asia (Oxford: Chandos, 2013). He is member of Editorial Boards of the International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law (Martinus Nijhoff), Ocean Development and International Law (Taylor & Francis), and the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy (Taylor & Francis), among others. Please view Professor Keyuan Zou's full biography and publications.