Sara Kang is a PhD candidate in the History Department with a secondary field in the studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Transnational and feminist approaches are particularly important to her research in modern Japanese and Korean history.
Kang's dissertation considers the national limitations of women's feminist agendas in East Asia that continue to be so painfully entangled in the lingering memories of the Asia-Pacific War. The figure of the "sexually-violated woman" is the focus of her doctoral project, which examines the genealogy of military sex-management in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam during the two American Wars. In her dissertation, Kang traces the systems of sexual exploitation, such as the military program known as R&R, that built on the vast geographies and infrastructure of the exploitative Japanese "comfort" system in Asia and the Pacific. She hopes to expose the enduring colonial legacies of a global patriarchal system founded on the notion that soldiers require "rest" and "comfort" to be healthy. She is also interested in the ways in which these wars facilitated transnational feminist bonds in the post-Cold War era and in discovering ways history-writing can help reappraise ethnic divisions between women in the postcolonial world.
Kang holds an A.M. in Regional-Studies East Asia from Harvard University and a B.A. in history and Japanese from Williams College ('14). She received language training at Waseda University, Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama, and Inter-University Center for Korean Language Studies at Sungkyunkwan University. In her free time, Sara enjoys sketching and painting, digitally and with traditional media.
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Research interests: modern Japan, modern Korea, transnational feminism, gender-based violence, sex-work, militarism in East Asia, U.S. military