Kim Seong-kon

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Seong-kon Kim
2014 한국문학번역원장 김성곤.jpg
Seong-kon Kim
Born (1949-09-09)September 9, 1949
Republic of Korea (South Korea)
Nationality Korean
Education Doctor of Philosophy
Alma mater SUNY/Buffalo, Columbia University
Genre Literary Criticism
Subject Postmodernism, Postcolonialism, Cultural Studies
Notable works Cultural Studies and the Future of the Humanities, Literature in the Age of New Media, Literature in the Globalizing World, Literature in the Age of Hybrid Cultures

Seong-Kon Kim (김성곤) is President of the LTI Korea (Literature Translation Institute of Korea) in the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of South Korea. In February, 2015 Kim was reappointed President of LTI Korea by the Korean government to lead the institution for another three years.[1] He was also appointed Co-editor of Korea Journal published by the Korean National Commission for UNESO. Kim is also Professor Emeritus at Seoul National University where he was selected for the Distinguished Research Award for seven times.[2] A renowned literary critic, Kim was editor of prestigious literary journals such as Literature & Thought and has been a regularly featured columnist for the Korea Herald since 2003. His Herald columns have frequently appeared in The Nation, The China Post, Asia One, Pakistan Observer, The Star Online, Yahoo! News and other international media. He was also a Research Member of the South Korea’s Presidential Committee on National Cohesion, and Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Korean Culture Overseas Promotion in the Ministry of Culture. Actively engaged in promoting Korean literature overseas, Kim is a member of the Advisory Committee on Korean literature of White Pine Press in New York, and Vice President of the Seoul Literary Society which consists of foreign ambassadors and high-ranking diplomats stationed in Seoul. Kim was also Honorary President of the SUNY/Buffalo Alumni Association, Korea Chapter.

Academic career[edit]

Seong-Kon Kim received his Ph.D. in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo, under the direction of the late Leslie A. Fielder. Then he went to Columbia University to study comparative literature under the late Edward W. Said. Upon completion of the Ph.D. coursework at Columbia, he joined the faculty of Seoul National University (SNU) in 1984.

Seong-Kon Kim was Dean of the SNU Language School (2001-2005), Director of the Language Research Institute (2001), Director of the American Studies Institute (1999-2001), and Director of the SNU Residence Hall (1987-1989) of Seoul National University. He was also Director of the Seoul National University Press (2009-2011) and President of the Association of Korean University Presses (2010-2011). Kim is Dean of the LTI Korea Translation Academy which offers various courses on translation studies for foreign and domestic students.

He was the founding President of the Korean Association of Literature and Film from 1998 to 2001, and was President of the International Association of Comparative Korean Studies from 2001 to 2003, President of the Korean Association of Modern Fiction in English from 2004 to 2006, and President of the American Studies Association of Korea from 2007 to 2008. Kim was Chairman of the Development and Promotion Council of the English Language and Literature Association of Korea from 2004 to 2005.

Kim has taught at SUNY/Buffalo, Columbia, Pennsylvania State University, Brigham Young University, and the University of California, Berkeley, and has conducted research at Harvard, Oxford and University of Toronto as a Visiting Scholar.

Professional career[edit]

Kim was Editor of the prestigious literary quarterly, Contemporary World Literature(1988-1988), and Editor-in-Chief of the celebrated monthly literary magazine, Literature and Thought(2002-2005), and co-editor of 21st Century Literature together with Yi Chongjun (passed away), Kim Yun-shik, Yoon Hu-myong and Kim Jong-hoe(1998-2012).

As Vice Chair of the Seoul International Forum for Literature sponsored by the Daesan Foundation in 2000, 2005, and 2011, Kim worked with the eminent scholar and literary critic Kim Uchang and together brought a host of celebrated international writers to Seoul, including Pierre Bourdieu, Jean Baudrillard, Le Clezio, Orhan Mapuk, Oe Kenzaburo, Gary Snyder, Robert Coover, Robert Hass, Margaret Drabble, Gao Xingjian, Bei Dao and others.

A self-appointed cultural diplomat, Kim taught Korean diplomats at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (1988-1994), and gave lectures extensively on Korean culture and society for foreign diplomats at the KOICA(Korea International Cooperation Agency) and at the COTI(Central Officials Training Institute) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (1997–present).

Administrative positions[edit]

  • Dean, LTI Korea Translation Academy, 2012-2015
  • Director, Seoul National University Press, 2009-2011
  • Dean, School of Language Education, Seoul National University, 2001-2005
  • Director, American Studies Institute, Seoul National University, 1999-2001
  • Director, SNU Student Residence Hall

Overseas teaching & research career[edit]

  • Visiting Lecturer, SUNY/Buffalo, 2011-2012
  • Visiting Professor, Univ. of California, Berkeley, 2006-2006 Taught Asian Literature
  • Visiting Professor, Brigham Young University, 1996-1997 Taught Korean Literature
  • Visiting Professor, Pennsylvania State Univ. Fulbright Asian Scholar-in-Residence, 1990-1991 Taught English & Comp. Lit
  • Visiting Scholar (Associate), Harvard University Yenching Institute, 2006-2007
  • Visiting Fellow, Rockefellow Center, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1992
  • Visiting Scholar, Oxford University, 1991
  • Visiting Scholar, University of Toronto, 1991

Awards & honors[edit]

Kim received the Distinguished Teaching Award from COTI (Central Officials Training Institute) in December, 2014.
Kim received the Wu Ho Humanities Award on April 25, 2014.
Kim receives a medal from H.E. Alena Hanáková, Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic on January 25, 2013
Kim delivers his acceptance speech at the SUNY/Buffalo International Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony held at the UB North Campus on April 13, 2012.
After the award ceremony, Kim poses with SUNY/Buffalo President Satish Tripathi, Vice President, and President of the UB Alumni Association.
Kim poses when he receives the Kim Whan-tae Award for Literary Criticism
Kim and Edward W. Said in Seoul, Korea in 1995
Kim and Leslie A. Fiedler in Seoul, Korea in 1985
  • Medal of Distinguished Service (Jade), Republic of Korea, 2014
  • Medal of Culture Merit, The Czech Republic, 2013
  • Distinguished Teaching Professor Award, Central, Officials Training Imstitute, 2014
  • Best Public Institution Director Award, Ministry of Culture, 2013
  • SUNY International Distinguished Alumni Award, 2012.[3]
  • SNU Distinguished Research Award, (7 times), 1998, 1999, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
  • Fulbright Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2010
  • CU Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2009
  • SNU Best Institute Director Award, 2003, 2004


  • Wu Ho Humanities Award, 2014
  • 50 Best Literary Critics in the 20th Century, selected, Association of Korean Literary Critics, 2014
  • Best Books of 2010 awarded by the National Academy of Sciences (Literature in the Age of Hybrid Cultures)
  • Kim Hwantae Literary Award for Criticism, 2008
  • Today’s Book Award, for Interviews with American Writers, 1985
  • Books of the Year, awarded by the Ministry of Culture (3 times)


  • Selected “2012 Best Literary Criticism” (“Literature and Game”)
  • Selected “Best Book on Literature and Film” Essays on Film, 1992
  • Representative Translator of Korea, selected, Journal of Publications, 1990
  • Selected "Best Books in the 1990s" by Kyobo Essay on Film
  • Selected “24 Best Books on Foreign Literature since the Liberation” Words in the Labyrinth: Interviews with American Writers, 1989
  • Selected “Representative Books of the 1980s” American Literature in the Postmodern Age, 1989


  • SNU President’s Distinguished Service Plaque, 2001, 2011, 2014
  • SNU Outstanding Service Award, 2004
  • Korea Research Foundation Overseas Teaching Grant, 1996-1997
  • British Council Grant, 1991 (Oxford University)
  • Canadian Faculty Enrichment Grant, 1991 (University of Toronto)
  • Asian Scholar-in-Residence Award, Pennsylvania State University, 1990-1991
  • Fulbright Scholarship, 1978-1984
  • SNU Overseas Research Grant (UC Berkeley/ Harvard)
  • Superintendent Award for the Valedictorian, 1967
  • Minster of Education Award, 1966

Invited lectures[edit]

Overseas publications (books)[edit]

  • Simple Etiquette in Korea. Kent, UK: Paul Nobury (Curzon Press), 1988. Co-authored with O Young Lee (former Minister of Culture)
  • Korea Briefing. Boulder: Associated University Press, 1991. (author of one chapter)
  • Crosscurrents in the Literatures of Asia and the West. Newark: Associated UP, 1997. (chapter author)
  • Postmodernism in Asia. Tokyo: University of Tokyo, 2003 (chapter author)
  • Intellectual History of Korea. Tokyo: Cuon Press, 2014 (chapter author)

Authored books[edit]

  • Simple Etiquette in Korea. Kent, UK: Paul Norbury (Curzon Press), 1988. co-authored with O Young Lee, Former Minister of Culture.
  • Journey into the Past. Seoul: SNU Press, 1985. (in English)
  • Conversations with American Writers. Seoul: Minumsa, 1986.
  • American Literature in the Postmodern Age. Seoul: SNU Press, 1989.
  • Portrait of American Literature and Its Writers. Seoul: SNU Press, 1993. (Selected “Best Books of the Year,” Ministry of Culture)
  • Essays on Film. Seoul: Yoleumsa, 1994. (Used as a textbook at the University of Washington, Also, a chapter is included in a high school textbook and college textbooks, 2011)
  • Literature in the Age of New Media. Seoul: Minumsa, 1995.
  • Literature and Film. Seoul: Minumsa, 1996.
  • Contemporary American Literature. Seoul: Minumsa, 1996.
  • Hollywood: A Mirror of 20th Century Culture. Seoul: Woongjin, 1996.
  • Odyssey in Film. Seoul: Hyohyung, 2001.
  • Korea in the Age of Multiculturalism. Seoul: Yoleumsa, 2002.
  • Reading Culture in the Age of Fusion Culture. Seoul: L&T, 2003.
  • Cultural Studies and the Future of the Humanities. Seoul: SNU Press, 2003. Selected “Best Books of the Year,” Ministry of Culture
  • Reading Culture in Film. Seoul: SNU Press, 2003.
  • Reading America in Hollywood Film. Seoul: Sallim, 2005.
  • Edgar Allan Poe. Seoul: Sallim, 2005
  • J. D. Salinger and The Catcher in the Rye. Seoul: Sallim, 2005.
  • The Key to Thought: Literature. Seoul: Mountain Press, 2006.
  • Literature in the Globalizing Word. Seoul: Minumsa, 2006 Best Books of the Year by the Ministry of Culture
  • Literature in the Age of Hybrid Cultures. Seoul: SNU Press, 2009. Selected as the Best Books of 2010 Award by the National Academy of Sciences
  • Literature Across Boundaries, Seoul: Minumsa, 2013

Edited books[edit]

  • The Death of the Novel and Postmodernism. Ed. Seong-Kon Kim. Attic Publishing Co.
  • 100 Cultural Keywords in the 21st Century. Ed. Seong-Kon Kim. Research Institute of Korean Publications & Marketing
  • Korean Poetry. Co-edited with Yong-jik Kim. KCAF
  • Journey to Mujin: Collection of Modern Korean Fiction. Co-edited with Yongjik Kim. KCAF
  • 21st Century Literary Movements. Ed. Seong-Kon Kim. Literature & Thought Publishing Co.

Translations[edit]

From Korean into English:

  • Strong Winds at Mishi Pass. New York: White Pine Press, 2003. Poems of Hwang Tong-kyu, Co-trans. Seong-Kon Kim, Dennis Maloney
  • Woman on the Terrace. New York: White Pine Press, 2007.

Poems of Moon Chung-hee. Co-trans. Seong-Kon Kim. Alec Gordon
With this book, Poetess Moon was awarded the Cicada Award in Sweden.

  • The Square. A novel by Choi In-hun. Trans. Seong-Kon Kim. Urbana-Champaign: Dalkey Archive Press, 2014.

From English into Korean:

  • The Crying of Lot 49. Thomas Pynchon. Seoul: Minumsa.
  • The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Edgar Allan Poe. Golden Bough.
  • Trout Fishing in America. Richard Brautig. Vichae.
  • A Farewell to Arms. Ernest Hemingway. Sigongsa.
  • In Our Time. Ernest Hemingway. Sigongsa
  • Waiting for the End. Leslie A. Fiedler. Samsung.
  • Primitivism. Michael Bell. SNU Press
  • Love is a Fallacy: Collections of Postmodern Fiction. Borges et al. Woongjin.
  • Selected Poems of Seamus Heaney. Seamus Heaney. Yeolumsa
  • Culture and Imperialism. Edward W. Said. co-trans. Hanshin
  • Postmodern Culture. Steven Corner. co-trans. Hanshin
  • American Literary Criticism. Vincent Leitch. Co-trans. Hanshin.
  • Mukarovsky’s Poetics. Mukarovsky. Co-trans. Modern Literature Co.

References[edit]