Sandra Park
Park, Sandra
Assistant Professor

Dr. Sandra Park is a historian of modern Korea, US empire in East Asia, and religion and the Cold War. Her current book project, titled Anointed Citizenship: Christianity, Border Crossing, and US Empire in the Korean War, examines the politics of Christian rescue and conversion in the passage of North Koreans into "Free" South Korea—and their transformation from the enemy to good citizens-to-be—at the crossroads of Cold War nation-building and empire-making. An exploration of the moral politics of Christianity and political belonging, Park's research shows that the violent conditions of the Korean War (re)defined the place of religion in modern political life for both Koreans and Americans. Park's previous work on religion and socialist secularization in revolutionary North Korea appeared in the Journal of Korean Studies, and for her second book project, she is interested in exploring the coherence of religious freedom as a distinct category in the context of divided, Cold War Korea. 

Currently Teaching

RELI 319 – Korean Religions and Philosophies

Korean culture, despite its important position in East Asian history, tends to be neglected in academia because it is located between China and Japan in both geographical and intellectual perspectives. This course not only introduces general historical information about Korean culture, but also considers its influence on Japanese religious and philosophical traditions, and even on Chinese culture. Such analyses will proceed from the following main topics: Shamanism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucian philosophy, religious discourse during war time, "new" religions in both North and South Korea in the modern era, and Korean religions beyond Korea.

RELI 384 – Religion and Conflict in East Asia: Philosophical and Sociological Perspectives

This course examines sociological issues related to the political relationship among East Asian countries, especially during the colonial era (late 19th to the mid- 20th century) within the context of religious ideologies such as Shinto, Confucianism, Christianity, and Buddhism. Religion can be a powerful tool for controlling people, and Japan's colonial movement on Asia beginning in the end of 19th century was no exception. Japan constructed a variety of ideologies based on religious concepts in order to legitimate its imperialist project. Students will learn Japan's political strategy for accomplishing such a process and how Chinese and Korean people and institutions reacted to the challenge they faced in this complex cultural and sociological interaction. All readings are in English.