Sonia Ryang most recently worked on anthropological study of North Korea by using publications as primary data. The National Science Foundation senior research grant supported this (ID#BCS-1357027). The result of the research will be published as a book under the title Language and Truth in North Korea (University of Hawaii Press, 2021). This book builds on her previous one on North Korea, Reading North Korea: An Ethnological Inquiry (Harvard University Press, 2012), and both reflect her long-term engagement with thinking about North Korea, a closed society, anthropologically.
I do not formally belong to another department and therefore, I don’t accept anthropology graduate students.
Born in Japan to Korean parents, Sonia Ryang grew up speaking both Korean and Japanese. Ryang received a Ph.D. degree in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University, England, and worked as a Research Fellow at the Research School for Pacific and Asian Studies, the Australian National University, before being appointed as Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. Ryang moved to the University of Iowa as an endowed chair of Korean Studies and professor of Anthropology. At Iowa, she directed the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies and also served as the Director of Academic Programs in the University of Iowa International Programs. She came to Rice in 2014 as the Director of the Chao Center for Asian Studies; after six years of directorship, she joined the Department of Transnational Asian Studies, her home department.
She has been elected the President of the Society for East Asian Anthropology (2020-2022).