Hi! My name is Sonia Singh, and I’m currently an MA student at NYU’s Department of East Asian Studies and a Pathways Fellow with GSAS’s Pathways to the Ph.D. program. I received my bachelor’s degree in Korean Language and Culture, with a minor in English literature, from Rutgers University–New Brunswick. My main concentration was Korean literature, with some research experience in Linguistics and Writing Pedagogy Theory. I also completed coursework and projects within the RU Korean–English Translation & Interpreting Certificate Program and the Rutgers Ewha Study Abroad program.
Q: What got you interested in the EAS MA Program? How do you like the program?
I owe my current success and growth trajectory to the fantastic faculty mentors I had at Rutgers University– to name but a few, Jae Won Chung, Hee Chung Chun, Young-mee Cho, Suzy Kim, Jaehyun Jo, Mi Hyun Yoon, Haruki Eda, Regina Masiello, and Gregory Jackson. They supported me every step of my application process, and thanks to their inspiration, I situated my research strengths & interests with Professor Yoon Jeong Oh’s interests. Yoon displays meaningful and critical attention to transmedia, intermedia, and psychoanalysis within Korean literature and visual culture. With her direction, I’ve discovered new methodologies and sources to aid my future research. My time here has not yet extended past a semester and a few weeks. Yet, our program’s rigor and intensity have already challenged me to grow into a more mature and focused (budding) scholar. New theories and challenging readings can seem daunting at first, but once I talk it through with my peers in EAS, I feel I’ve added something new to my intellectual belt.
Q: Which classes are you enjoying this semester and why?
I’m taking two seminars this semester… Stairways and Frames: Korea’s Visual Cultures with Yoon Jeong Oh and the Ethnography of Media with Gabriel Dattetreyan (Dept. of Anthropology). I absolutely love both courses. They challenge my existing knowledge of visual media and analytical methodologies. My initial training was in literary analysis and cultural studies, but adding media and anthropology to the mix feels exhilarating. The latter course also zooms into India-focused scholarship, which fits perfectly with my ongoing interest in transnational work between Korea and India. Both my parents are from Punjab and, thankfully, have helped preserve our heritage languages in past generations. I want to keep that going and also apply it to my research whenever possible!
Q: What's your focus/concentration?
My concentration is on Contemporary Korean literature and visual culture. My general research interests concern intermedial aesthetics, narratology, Korea and India relations, division/partition literature, webtoons and manhwa, Asian-American diasporic studies, and multilingualism. Intermediality describes media (literature, fine art, film, etc.) as a network of relationships– and understanding certain media via their interaction within and between other media allows us to rethink the “borders” of art forms and mediums. Thus, we can see how certain ideas and stories permeate predetermined/existing borders. Intermedial studies is a burgeoning field, along with sound studies. With my expertise in literature, I’d like to contribute a narratological approach to these fields in the Korean and Indian media contexts.
Q: Are you doing any internships/volunteer work?
Outside of graduate studies, I work as a Researcher with HRCap, Inc., an Asian American global recruiting firm, where I examine both Korean and English material to contribute data-driven market research and predictions to the company's presence in HR conferences, newsletters, and bi-weekly data insights with the Digital Transformation team. In my free time, I also contribute to Passionfruit, a Korean-English bilingual nonprofit organization, as a content writer and translator and to the Columbia Journal of Asia as a graduate peer reviewer.
Q: What are your academic/career goals?
After obtaining my MA, I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in Asian Languages & Cultures to continue researching the intersection of East Asian and South Asian literature and visual cultures (primarily within Korea and India). Ever since high school, my main career goal has been to teach and learn. While I know my skills are transferable to many different positions, my ultimate goal is to be a professor— a position where I can both empower and learn from undergraduate and graduate students interested in my fields. Outside of my career goals in academia, I also have nearer academic goals, such as ongoing publication projects and my upcoming MA thesis project!
Q: Another fun question: What's your favorite EAS-related Book, Movie, or Music? And why?
Aside from scholarship or critical theory, I love Kim Young-ha’s novels, especially I Have the Right to Destroy Myself (나는 나를 파괴할 권리가 있다) and Diary of a Murderer (살인자의 기억법). My peers can attest to how passionate I am about Kim’s work. I also enjoy listening to Korean artists like Penemeco (페노메코), jeebanoff (지바노프), and Rad Museum (라드 뮤지엄), and of course, I jam out to some Bollywood tracks from the 90s and early 2000s. I simply can’t leave my house or do work anywhere without my earbuds and Spotify playlists!