College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Jiwon Yoon

Associate Professor

  • B.A. Handong University, 2002
  • M.A. New York University, 2005
  • Ph.D. Temple University, 2010


Standing on the southeastern border of China, Jiwon looked across the Duman River at North Korea and felt helpless about the condition of the two Koreas. It was the first summer after she began her studies at Handong University, South Korea; she was in China volunteering as an English teacher for Korean-Chinese high school students. She was amazed to see that these young students were able to have discussions about certain aspects of Korean culture that they themselves had not experienced directly. She quickly realized that much of their knowledge of South Korea came from watching South Korean television programs; what they were really discussing was Korean TV culture, which was not always an accurate reflection of Korean society. Since every teacher had to give two special lectures each week on topics that interested the students, she decided to use this opportunity to convey her knowledge of the media industry. For these lectures, she drew on the information she had gained the previous semester, especially from a course titled “Mass Media and Society.” 

Many of these students, whose ancestors had migrated to China from Korea (mostly from North Korea) either during the Japanese occupation of Korea or during the Korean War, were going through an identity crisis: they were Koreans living in China. Her time with these students caused her to think a lot about her own identity as a Korean born in an arbitrarily divided country. Eventually, she made it her goal to become a bridge linking North and South Korea by studying and learning to overcome the differences in the ways that the two Koreas receive and perceive information about the world.

Since modern culture cannot be interpreted without strongly factoring in the mass media, she decided to equip herself with an in-depth understanding of media, society, people and the cultures of North and South Korea. In fact, studying mass communication came naturally to her, for she had been interested in the media since grade school. It is not only the diversity, entertainment, and creativity involved in these forms of communication that deeply interest and excite her, but also their power to reach and affect people. Consequently, she decided to major in communication. 

She has been focusing on research in media literacy for global understanding, intercultural communication, popular culture in North and South Korea, Pan-Asian identity, and immigrants/refugees’ cultural competence. Her works have been published in scholarly journals and as book chapters. She also has received top paper awards from the major communication associations: BEA (Broadcast Education Association) and ICA (International Communication Association).


Travelling, cycling and hiking – all with her amazing husband Dawoomi Hong. She also plays the piano.


Yoon, J. (2015) Ideocratic legitimation in North Korea: Its history and challenges. In U. Backes & S. Kailitz (Eds.) Ideocracies in Comparison: Legitimation, Co-optation, Repression. (pp. 221-242). New York: Routledge.  (This book is be an updated English edition of Legitimation, Integration und Repression. I made significant updates and revisions from the previous version of this article that was published in 2014.)

Yoon, J. (2014). Ideocratic legitimation in North Korea. In U. Backes & S. Kailitz (Eds.), Ideokratische Regime. Legitimation, Integration und Repression. (pp. 229-248). Göttingen, Germany:  Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Yoon, J. (2013). North Korean refugees in South Korea: Using videos for storytelling, healing and unification. In U. Carlsson & S. Culver (Eds.), Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue. (pp. 193-201). Goteborg, Sweden: NORDICOM.

*Hobbs, R., Yoon, J., Al-Humaidan, R., Ebrahimi, A., Cabral, N. (2011). Online Digital Media in Elementary Schools: Promoting Cultural Understanding. Journal of Middle East Media, 7 (1), 1-23.

*Hobbs, R., Cabral, N., Ebrahimi, A., Yoon, J., & Al-Humaidan, R. (2011). Field-Based Teacher Education in Elementary Media Literacy as a Means to Promote Global Understanding. Action in Teacher Education, 33 (2), 144-156.

*Yoon, J. (2010, in Korean). Media Literacy for North Korean Refugees: New Understanding and Approaches. Journal of Media Education, 1 (2), 119-158.  

*Yoon, J. (2010, in Korean). NAMLE (National Association for Media Literacy Education) and Media Literacy Education in the United States. Journal of Media Education, 1 (1), 137-149.  

*Ahn, J., Jeon, K., Kim, Y., Yoon, J., & Park, H. (2009, in Korean). Diverse Cultures and Media Education. Seoul, South Korea:  Broadcasting & Communication Promotion Bureau.

Yoon, J. (2009). The Power of Voice: North Koreans Negotiating Identity and Social Integration via Mediated Storytelling. In T. Tufte & F. Enghel (Eds.), Yearbook 2009:Youth Engaging With the World: Media, Communication and Social Change.  Goteborg, Sweden: NORDICOM.

Yoon, J. (2009). The Development of Media Literacy in Russia: Efforts from Inside and Outside the Country. In L. Marcus (Ed.), Issues in Information Literacy and Media Literacy: Criticism, History and Policy. Santa Rosa, CA: Informing Science, 189-213.

Yoon, J. (2008). The Transnational Reach of Korean Popular Culture in Asia: Influences of the Korean Wave on Understandings of Korea and Pan-Asian Identity. Asian Cinema, 19 (2), 292-305.

*Hobbs, R. & Yoon, J. (2008) Creating Empowering Environments in Youth Media Organizations. Youth Media Reporter. Can be retrieved from

Yoon, J. (2007). South Koreans Scholars Studying North Korean Movies. Asian Cinema, 18 (2), 160-179.