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Spring 2023: Asian, African, and European Exploration
Retired Professor

Joonok Huh

University of Northern Colorado

Dr. Joonok Huh, a retired professor of English from the University of Northern Colorado, remains enthusiastic as ever about her teaching and scholarship. She has taught American literature, women’s literature, Asian American literature, and postcolonial literature. She also has held administrative positions in English, Women’s Studies, and Humanities. A native of South Korea, she came to the US for higher education and received a Ph.D. in English at Indiana University.

She strongly believes her identity as an Asian American has enriched her experience and given her insights into our global community. She has published in the areas of American literature, ethnic literature, mother-daughter relationships in literature, and autobiography. Her special delight has been in challenging the idea of scholarship to include the personal; on this topic she has engaged her peers in debate in Modern Language Association Forums. Her thesis is that scholarship need not be divorced from personal experience. In fact, the personal can constitute scholarship, as when, for example, she writes on mother-daughter relationships through the stories of her grandmother, mother, herself, and her daughter.

She highly values the Semester at Sea program because it allows students to use personal experience as a means to investigate social and cultural transformation. Self is, after all, a part of a bigger social piece: family, nation, and the global spirit. She is confident students’ individual, personal experiences and observations in newly visited places will allow them to travel spaces both personal and academic, which in turn deepens and broadens their thinking on assigned texts. She looks forward to connecting text and life, and reaching the precipice of discovery with her students in Spring 2023.

Dr. Huh’s favorite writer is Virginia Woolf because of the depth of humanity, love, and courage in Woolf’s writings, as exemplified in To the Lighthouse. Overall, life is a long, evolving journey toward one’s own lighthouse, which demands humanity, love, and courage.