Nancy Abelmann Papers, 1982-2014
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Brief Description:

Nancy Abelmann was Professor of Anthropology, East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Illinois from 1990 to 2007, and Harry E. Preble Professor of Anthropology, Asian American Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Women and Gender Studies from 2007 until her death in 2016. As a leading scholar in Korean and Asian American studies, her research focused on a wide array of themes such as class, education, migration, and social mobility. Professor Abelmann served as a mentor for the Korean Studies Workshop for Junior Faculty and Dissertation Writers of the Social Science Research Council. She served as president of the Society for Urban and Transnational Anthropology, as a member of the Korea Advisory Board of the Social Science Research Council, and as a member of the Korea Foundation North American Advisory Committee. Nancy Abelmann was on the editorial boards of Anthropological Quarterly, Asian Educational Media Service, Asian Journal of Women's Studies, Journal of Korean and Japanese Cinema, Korea Journal, Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, and Social Science History, as well as the book award committees of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Northeast Asian Council, the Society for East Asian Anthropology, the Society for Urban and Transnational Anthropology, and the Association for Asian American Studies.

Nancy Abelmann's papers include correspondence, notes, budgets, and reports pertaining to organizations and initiatives established by her, such as the American University Meets the Pacific Century (AUPC) project, the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI), and the Korean Family in Comparative Perspective (KFCP) laboratory, as well as Professor Abelmann' talks, course materials, interview notes, and correspondence regarding book projects. Among Nancy Abelmann's Korean research materials included in this collection are notes, newspaper clippings, maps, plans, and photographs concerning the Samyang Corporation and the Nonghwal student volunteering program. Also included are Abelmann's undergraduate and graduate school notes, papers, field statements, dissertation outlines, as well as field research notes, primary sources, and rare secondary literature in Korean. Part of the collection consists of audiovisual material such as photographs and slides from Nancy Abelmann's dissertation research in Korea and cassettes and microcassettes containing her interviews with Korean students and their parents.

The collection is arranged into four series: Series 1: Subject Files, 1982-2014, arranged alphabetically; Series 2: Research Files, 1982-2013, arranged alphabetically, with undergraduate and graduate school documentation listed first; Series 3: Audiovisual Material, ca. 1985-2004, arranged by format, with photographs and slides listed first, and cassettes and microcassettes listed alphabetically; Series 4: Digital Files.

Held at:
University of Illinois Archives
19 Library
1408 W. Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61820
Phone: (217) 333-0798
Fax: (217) 333-2868
Email: illiarch [at] illinois.edu
Record Series Number: 15/2/34
Created by: Abelmann, Nancy (1982-2014)
Volume: 6.5 cubic feet
Acquired: 06/14/2019.
More information is available at https://files.archon.library.illinois.edu/uasfa/1502034.pdf
Arrangement:

Series 1: Subject Files, 1982-2014: This series contains correspondence, notes, budgets, and reports pertaining to organizations and initiatives established by Nancy Abelmann at the UIUC, such as the American University Meets the Pacific Century (AUPC) project, the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI), and the Korean Family in Comparative Perspective (KFCP) laboratory. The series also includes Professor Abelmann' talks, course materials, interview notes, and correspondence regarding book projects. This series is arranged alphabetically, with her CV listed first.

Series 2: Research Files, 1982-2013: This series contains Nancy Abelmann's undergraduate and graduate school research (such as her class papers, field statements, dissertation outlines, and related reports), and her professional field research notes, primary sources, and rare secondary literature in Korean. Among Abelmann's research materials are notes, newspaper clippings, maps, plans, and photographs concerning the Samyang Corporation and the Nonghwal student volunteering program. This series is arranged alphabetically, with her undergraduate and graduate school files listed first.

Series 3: Audiovisual Material, ca. 1985-2004: This series consists of photographs and slides from Nancy Abelmann's dissertation research in Korea as well as cassettes and microcassettes containing Professor Abelmann's interviews with Korean and Asian American students, parents, and other individuals. This series is arranged by format; cassettes and microcassettes are listed alphabetically.

Series 4: Digital Files: This series consists of 13 3.5" Floppy Discs.

Biographical Note for Abelmann, Nancy (1982-2014) :

Nancy Abelmann was Professor of Anthropology, East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Illinois from 1990 to 2007, and Harry E. Preble Professor of Anthropology, Asian American Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Women and Gender Studies from 2007 until her death in 2016. As a leading scholar in Korean and Asian American studies, her research focused on a wide array of themes such as class, education, migration, and social mobility. Professor Abelmann served as a mentor for the Korean Studies Workshop for Junior Faculty and Dissertation Writers of the Social Science Research Council. She served as president of the Society for Urban and Transnational Anthropology, as a member of the Korea Advisory Board of the Social Science Research Council, and as a member of the Korea Foundation North American Advisory Committee. Nancy Abelmann was on the editorial boards of Anthropological Quarterly, Asian Educational Media Service, Asian Journal of Women's Studies, Journal of Korean and Japanese Cinema, Korea Journal, Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, and Social Science History, as well as the book award committees of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Northeast Asian Council, the Society for East Asian Anthropology, the Society for Urban and Transnational Anthropology, and the Association for Asian American Studies.

Nancy Abelmann was born in 1959 in Boston to Dr. Walter H. Abelmann and Rena W. Abelmann. She earned an A.B. degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University in 1982. Abelmann completed her graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, with an M.A. in Social Cultural Anthropology (1984) and a Ph.D. in Social Cultural Anthropology (1990). In 1990, Abelmann became Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Nancy Abelmann was a founding member of the Asian American Studies Program (1997) at the UIUC that would pave the way for the establishment of Asian American Studies Programs across the USA. At UIUC, the program would expand into the Department of Asian American Studies in 2002. In 2002, Professor Abelmann co-founded the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI), a collaborative, multi-institutional initiative to direct and preserve student research projects about the university. In 2010 she established the Korean Family in Comparative Perspective (KFCP) laboratory for the globalization of Korean studies, funded by the Academy of Korean Studies and offering postdoctoral fellowships. Since 2010, Abelmann had also been co-principal investigator of The American University Meets the Pacific Century (AUPC) research project on the internationalization of the undergraduate student body at the University of Illinois. Nancy Abelmann also served as the director of the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies from 2005 to 2008, and, since 2009, was the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in the Humanities, Arts, and Related Fields.

Nancy Abelmann's first two books, Blue Dreams: Korean Americans and the Los Angeles Riots (co-authored with John Lie, 1995) and Echoes of the Past, Epics of Dissent (1996), were ground-breaking texts introducing transnational analysis and the study of social movements to the fields of Asian American and South Korean Studies. Her next major work, The Melodrama of Mobility: Women, Class, and Talk in Contemporary South Korea, received the 2004 Leeds Prize from the Society for Urban and Transnational Anthropology and the 2014 Im Seok-chae Award from the Korean Society for Cultural Anthropology. Abelmann would go on to publish five more books closely scrutinizing South Korea's "education fever," gender, and family relationships. Her research interests informed her teaching at the University of Illinois where she offered courses on topics related to East Asian cultures, South Korean society, and Korean diaspora.

Nancy Abelmann died on January 6, 2016 at the age of 56.

Subject Index
Anthropology Department
Asian Americans
Faculty Papers
Korean students
Women's Studies