Dr. Sandra Park's Profile Picture
(520) 621-5619
LSB 113
Office Hours
Please see syllabus or email for appointment.
Park, Sandra H.
Assistant Professor

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. 

At the University of Arizona, Dr. Park teaches courses on modern and contemporary Korea, religion and politics in Korea and East Asia, and East Asian history, culture, and society. 

Before joining the University of Arizona, Sandra Park was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Institute for Korean Studies at George Washington University. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Chicago, where she also received an MA and BA. As a first-generation and Asian American scholar, she is committed to inclusive, accessible teaching and mentoring students from marginalized backgrounds.




"A Reverend on Trial: Debating the Proper Place of Christianity in the North Korean Revolution," Journal of Korean Studies 25, no. 2 (2020): 379–405.


Web Essays:

"Bound by Freedom: Oh Chong Song's Escape and the Mirage of "Free" Korea," Not From Here: Immigration and Ethnic History Society Blog, June 10, 2021.

"Christianity, Citizenship, and American Empire in the Korean War," American Religion Online Supplements, February 17, 2021.

"Finding the Taejon Massacre in Independence, Missouri," #AsiaNow (Association for Asian Studies Blog), March 24, 2020.


Currently Teaching

EAS 202 – Symbol, Society, and Social Change--Contemporary East Asia

This course introduces students to East Asia in modern and contemporary times -- its recent histories, evolving cultures, languages and literatures, and the changes. China, Japan, and the Korean Peninsula have all undergone drastic cultural, political, linguistic, and social changes. There have also been increasing transnational flows among these countries, which further shape these changes. This course engages students in discovering these changes and flows and understanding the social and cultural context in which they take place.

KOR 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.

EAS 498H – Honors Thesis

An honors thesis is required of all the students graduating with honors. Students ordinarily sign up for this course as a two-semester sequence. The first semester the student performs research under the supervision of a faculty member; the second semester the student writes an honors thesis.

KOR 251 – Introduction to Korea through Films

This course offers a thematic introduction to Korea using film as a window to Korean society. Korea has experienced a compressed modernity in reaction to complex international dynamics, which include colonialism, the Cold War, and globalization. Its rich historical and social particularities have been a valuable source for cultural products such as film production. Film enables us to see beyond our own experiences and reflect on our world and other people's lives through various aesthetic mediations. Through the medium of film, students will be able to learn about the country through vivid imagery. This course will also allow students to understand important issues related to class, gender, capitalism, and democracy that our contemporary world is facing using Korean films to illustrate these key concerns.