Department of International Studies: Languages and Cultures

Dr Sung-Ae Lee

Sung-Ae Lee

Lecturer, Asian Studies

Macquarie University
North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia



Sung-Ae Lee's major research focus is on fiction, film and television drama of East Asia, with particular attention to Korea. Her research centres on relationships between cultural ideologies in Asian societies and representational strategies. She is interested in cognitive and imagological approaches to adaptation studies, Asian popular culture, Asian cinema, the impact of colonisation in Asia, Trauma Studies, fiction and film produced in the aftermath of the Korean War, and the literature and popular media of the Korean diaspora.

She has two doctoral degrees: a PhD in English Literature (Macquarie University) and a PhD in Asian Studies (Macquarie University). The first of her theses examines representations of utopia/dystopia, nation states, and abjection in society in George Eliot's major fictions. The second thesis (by publication) is a study of Korean narrative fictions which depict how liminal subjectivities are displaced to the social periphery. Her other academic qualifications include an MA in English ([with Merit], University of Sydney), an MA in Linguistics (CSU, Fresno) and a BA in English (Ewha Women's University).

Her teaching mainly involves INTS101 Asia in the Global Context, INTS205 Screening Asia, and INTS307 Global Circulation of Asian Popular Culture.

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Book Chapters

Lee, Sung-Ae. "Imagology, Narrative Modalities and Korean Picture Books." Chapter 17 in The Routledge Companion to International Children's Literature, ed. John Stephens. London and New York: Routledge, 2017, pp. 169-180.

Lee, Sung-Ae and John Stephens. "Gynoids and Male Fantasy in East Asian Film and Anime." In Artificial Humans in Children's Literature, ed. Sabine Planka. Würzburg: Verlag Königshausen & Neumann GmbH, 2016.

Lee, Sung-Ae and John Stephens. "'What Defines Me?' - Performativity, Gender and Ethnicity in Korean American YA Fiction." Chapter 6 in Gender(ed) Identities: Critical Rereadings of Gender in Children's and Young Adult Literature, eds. Tricia Clasen and Holly Hassel. New York: Routledge, 2016.

Lee, Sung-Ae. "The Fairy-Tale Film in Korea." Chapter 15 in Fairy-Tale Films Beyond Disney: International Perspectives, eds. Jack Zipes, Pauline Greenhill, and Kendra Magnus-Johnston. New York: Routledge, 2015. (By invitation)

Lee, Sung-Ae. "Fairy-Tale Scripts and Intercultural Conceptual Blending in Modern Korean Film and Television Drama." Chapter 14 in Grimms' Tales Around the Globe: The Dynamics of Their International Reception, eds. Vanessa Joosen and Gillian Lathey. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2014.

Lee, Sung-Ae and John Stephens. "'The Ghost Remembers Only What It Wants To': Traumas of Girlhood as a Metonym for the Nation in the South Korean Whispering Corridors (Yeogo Goedam) Series." Chapter 7 in The Nation in Children's Literature: Nations of Childhood, eds. Christopher (Kit) Kelen and Björn Sundmark. New York and London: Routledge, 2013.

Lee, Sung-Ae. "'How Can I be the Protagonist of My Own Life?': Intimation of Hope for Teen Subjectivities in Korean Fiction and Film." Chapter 6 in Subjectivity in Asian Children's Literature and Film: Global Theories and Implications, ed. John Stephens. New York: Routledge, 2012: 95-114.

Lee, Sung-Ae. "History and Displacement: Liminal Subjectivity in Narratives from and about Korea." In Remaking Literary History, eds. Helen Groth and Paul Sheehan. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010: 179-91.

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Refereed Journal Articles

Lee, Sung-Ae, Fengxia Tan and John Stephens. "Film Adaptation, Global Film Techniques and Cross-Cultural Viewing." International Research in Children's Literature 10.1 (2017): 1-19.

Lee, Sung-Ae. "Lost in Liminal Space: Amnesiac and Incognizant Ghosts in Korean Drama." Mosaic 48.3 (2015): 125-40.

Lee, Sung-Ae. "Adaptations of Time Travel Narratives in Japanese Multimedia: Nurturing Eudaimonia across Time and Space." International Research in Children's Literature 7.2 (2014): 136-51.

Lee, Sung-Ae. "Lures and Horrors of Alterity: Adapting Korean Tales of Fox Spirits." International Research in Children's Literature 4.2 (2011): 135-50.

Lee, Sung-Ae. "Re-visioning Gendered Folktales in Novels by Mia Yun and Nora Okja Keller." Asian Ethnology 68.1 (2009): 131-50.

Lee, Sung-Ae. "Remembering or Misremembering? Historicity and the Case of So Far from the Bamboo Grove." Children's Literature in Education 39.2 (2008): 85-93.

Lee, Sung-Ae. "Performing Community: A Comparison of Korean-language Newspapers in Beijing and Sydney." Diaspora 13.2-3 (2004 [published in 2008]): 227-52.

Lee, Sung-Ae and John Stephens. "Diasporan Subjectivity and Cultural Space in Korean American Picture Books." The Journal of Asian American Studies 9.1 (2006): 1-25.

Lee, Sung-Ae. "Separateness with Communication: George Eliot, Nation States, and Global Consciousness." International Journal of Humanities 1 (2005): 1019-29.

Lee, Sung-Ae. "Dystopia and the Frustration of Female Agency in The Mill on the Floss." Feminist Studies in English Literature 11.2 (2003): 129-59.

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Conference Presentations


"The Battleship Island: Intertextuality and Other Factors in a Box Office Success": presented at the 2017 Biennial Conference of Korean Studies Association of Australasia  (KSAA), held at the University of Technology, Sydney, 15-17 November 2017.

"Multiple Personalities, Memory and Narrative Structure in Recent South Korean TV Serials: Goblin: The Lonely and Great God (2016-2017), Let's Fight, Ghost (2016) and Oh, My Ghost (2015)": presented at The Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image Conference, "Aesthetics of Television Serials," held at the Universitat Politècnica de València, Campus de Gandia, 2-4 November 2017.       

"What's a Haunted Island Without Some Dark Secrets?": presented at the 2017 Biennial Conference of Japanese Studies Association of Australia (JSAA), held at the University of Wollongong, 27-30 June 2017. Within a panel: Japan Is Not Cool.

"Ecology and Ethics beyond Borders and Boundaries in South Korean Cinema": presented at the 2017 AAS-in-ASIA (Association for Asian Studies in Asia) Conference, held at Korea University, Seoul, Korea, June 24-27. Within a panel: Eco-criticism in Asian Narratives: A Reflection on Land, Disaster, Technology, and Ethics across Borders and Boundaries.

"Metanarratives of Gender in Transnational Film Remakes": presented at the International Conference of Film Adaptation: Theory, Practices, Reception, held at the School of Film Studies and School of English, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece, 25-27 May 2017.


"Glocalisations of Hana Kimi in East Asia": presented at the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) 21st Biennial Conference, held at the Australian National University, 5-7 July 2016. Within a panel: Contemporary East Asian Culture: Appealing to Trans-pop Consumers in the Era of Globalisation and Glocalisation.

"Remembered Childhoods: Representing the Everyday Lives of Children in Some East Asian Films": presented at the 7th Annual International Conference of Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand (PopCAANZ), held at the University of Sydney, 29 June -2 July 2016.

"Resistance against Neoliberal Imperatives: Social Ecology and Anthropocentrism in South Korean Eco-cinema": presented at a conference "Contextualizing Eco-cinema: Past and Present," organised by the Department of Comparative Literature and the Centre for the Study of Globalization and Cultures (CSGC), The University of Hong Kong, 27-28 May 2016. (By invitation)


 "Representations of Intergenerational Bonding in Recent Films from South Korea": presented at an international workshop in University of Antwerp, Department of Literature and Linguistics, Belgium. The workshop was part of an international collaborative research project, PLACIM (Platform for a Cultural History of Children's Media), 21-22 May 2015. (By invitation)

"Transcultural Adaptation of Feature Film: The Bizarre Girl/My Sassy Girl/Ugly aur Pagli." (with John Stephens) Crossing Cultures: Translation, Adaptation and Transnational Spaces in Global Cinema. Department of International Studies: Languages and Cultures Research Workshop, 16 April 2015.


"Cultural Proximity and Localised Globalisation: The Boys Over Flowers Phenomenon": presented at the 6th annual International Conference, "Intra-Asian Connections: Interactions, flows, landscapes," held at the Asian Dynamics Initiative, The University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 22-24 October 2014.

"Spectral Incognizance as Social Commentary in South Korean TV Drama": presented at an International Interdisciplinary Conference: A matter of lifedeath, organised by Mosaic: a journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature, held at The University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, 1-4 October 2014. 

"Ways of Seeing and the Aesthetics of Affect in Hollywood Remakes of South Korean Films": presented at the 20th Biennial Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) Conference (Theme: AsiaScapes: Contesting Borders), held at The University of Western Australia, Perth, 8-10 July 2014.  


"Elite Power, the Futility of Democracy, and Reflections of Society in South Korean Film and TV Drama": presented at The Annual Conference of Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast (ASPAC) on "Asia: Looking Back, Moving Forward," held at The Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California, USA, 7-9 June 2013.


" 'Don't Mess My Backyard': Offshore Processing and Toxic Waste in Malaysia and South Korea": presented at the International Conference on Sustainable Development 2011, held at The Universiti Tun Abdul Razak, Putrajaya, Malaysia, 5-7 December 2011.

"A Turning Point in Global Partnership: Representations of the Gwangju Massacre, 1980, and Attitudes to the USA Embedded in Film and TV Drama": presented at the 7th Biennial Conference of The Korean Studies Association of Australasia (KSAA) on "Korean Studies in the Era of Global Partnership," held at The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 16-18 November 2011.


"Memory and Ghosts: Ideologies and Reconciliation in The Guest (2001) and Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005)": presented at the 5th World Congress of Korean Studies on "Korean Studies for the Advancement of Global Civilization," held at The Chinese Culture University, Taipei, Taiwan, 25-28 October 2010.


"History and Displacement: Liminal Subjectivity in Narratives from and about Korea": presented at the Literature and History Conference, Macquarie University, 24-25 July 2008.


"Perspectives on Transracial (Korean American) Adoptee Narratives": presented at the English Language and Literature Association of Korea (ELLAK) International Conference on "Literature, Culture, and (Trans)Nation," held at Dongguk University, Seoul, Korea, 22-24 June 2006.


"Performing Community: A Comparison of Korean-language Newspapers in Beijing and Sydney": presented at the 4th Biennial Conference of the Korean Studies Association of Australasia on "Intellectual Engagements with Korea: Diversity in Korean Studies in Australasia," held at The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, 14-15 July 2005.

" 'Changing the Ending': Diasporan Narratives and Women's Story Telling": presented at Women's Worlds 2005: 9th International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women (Theme: "Embracing the Earth: East-West and North-South"), held at Ewha Women's University, Seoul, Korea, 19-24 June 2005.

" 'Familiar but Fractured Reflections': Diasporic Fiction Responding to the Korean War" (a second paper on the topic presented at the 2nd World Congress of Korean Studies, now examining a different angle and different corpus of primary texts): presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association on "Imperialisms -Temporal, Spatial, Formal," held at The State College, Pennsylvania, 11-13 March 2005.

" 'Familiar but Fractured Reflections': Diasporic Fiction Responding to the Korean War": presented at the 2nd World Congress of Korean Studies, on "Korean Studies in the Era of Reconciliation and Co-operation," at Peking University, Beijing, China, 2-4 February 2005.


"Writing the Korean Diaspora: Dialogic Construction of Diasporic Korean Identity": presented at the International Conference on "English Studies in an Era of Globalisation" organised by the English Language and Literature Association of Korea, held at The Academy of Korean Studies, Seoul, Korea, 15-18 June 2004.


"Separateness with Communication: George Eliot, Nation States, and the Anticipation of Globalization": presented at the First International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities, The University of Aegean, Rhodes, Greece, 2-5 July 2003.

"Dystopian Outcomes and Utopian Impulses in George Eliot's Middlemarch": presented at the Fourth Annual Conference of the Utopian Studies Society, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Spain, 25-29 June 2003.

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