Dr Hyun Kyong Hannah Chang


School of East Asian Studies

Lecturer in Korean Studies

Profile image of Hyun Chang
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Full contact details

Dr Hyun Kyong Hannah Chang
School of East Asian Studies
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA

Dr Chang is musicologist and historian specialising in trans-Pacific Korea.

Her doctoral thesis, completed at the University of California, Los Angeles, was an historical and ethnographic study of singing in the Korean Protestant church from late nineteenth-century Pyongyang to twenty-first-century Korean diasporic communities in California.

Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the American Musicological Society, among others.

She is currently working on a book manuscript titled A Vocal Interior: Korean Hymns and Prayers between US and Japanese Empires. The book incorporates new archival research I have done as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University and Ewha Women’s University.

Before joining the University of Sheffield, she taught at New York University.

  • BA (Cornell University)
  • PhD (University of California)
Research interests

Dr Chang's research bridges the gap between musicology and East Asian studies, and between the history of everyday practices and large-scale processes.

This objective inspired her to consider nineteenth- and twentieth-century Korea within the intertwined histories of the U.S., Japan, and Korea, paying attention to the aspects of musical diffusion that intersect with the history of empires and the formations of new selfhoods.

Currently, her book-in-progress draws on English, Korean, and Japanese archives pertaining to vocal practices that came out of North American missionisation in early twentieth-century Korea, such as hymn singing and confessional prayers.

Titled A Vocal Interior: Korean Hymns and Prayers between US and Japanese Empires, it traces a history of generative encounters between speaker-listeners of uneven power (North American missionaries, Japanese and Korean elites, and Korean subalterns), whose relationship to voicing, listening, and writing was differently conditioned in history.

The book demonstrates that Protestant vocal expressions became a rich site for forging modern Korean selfhoods in the crucible of early twentieth-century trans-Pacific history.

Dr Chang's next research project is inspired by Japan-educated Korean leftist composers who saw themselves as a cluster of artists distinct from Christian Korean composers during Korea’s colonial period.

This project will examine the musical mobilisation of the Korean and the Japanese proletarian movement in the 1930s by tracing a transnational network of political ideas, modernist techniques, and teacher-student relationships.

She maintains active research interests in broad cultural formations in nineteenth- and twentieth-century East Asia – such as popular culture, modernism, and millenarian movements – within the framework of global history.


Journal articles


  • Chang HKH (2023) Society: Global Trajectories and the Universal-Particular Paradox In Cheng W & Fosler-Lussier D (Ed.), A Cultural History of Western Music in the Modern Age RIS download Bibtex download
  • Chang HK (2019) Singing and Praying among Korean Christian Converts (1896-1915): a Trans-Pacific Genealogy of the Modern Korean Voice In Eidsheim N & Meizel K (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies (pp. 457-474). Oxford Handbooks RIS download Bibtex download

Book reviews

  • Chang HK (2017) Review of Vocal Music and Contemporary Identities: Unlimited Voices in East Asia and the West. Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies, 1(2), 214-217. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Chang HK (2015) Review of Music in Korea. Journal of the European Foundation for Chinese Music Research(20), 159-162. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Chang HK (2013) Review of Songs of Seoul: An Ethnography of Voice and Voicing in Christian South Korea. Twentieth Century Music, 1(13), 185-190. RIS download Bibtex download
Teaching interests

As an interdisciplinary scholar, she has taught a range of courses across East Asian Studies and musicology, including K-pop, East Asian religions, global musicology, and music & gender.

As a teacher, Dr Chang sees herself not only as a transmitter of knowledge but also an interlocutor who encourages students to ask how and why we know what we know.

In her modules, she stresses cultivating nuanced perspectives in making claims about Korea and its neighbours in the past and the present.

Whether students are dealing with musical sources, audio-visual materials, published records, or personal testimonies, she encourages them to ask how such materials might offer different perspectives on the same issues or shed light on forgotten or marginalised histories.

Teaching activities

I Teach the following modules

  • EAS21006 History of Korean Popular Music