Chelle Jones entered her Fulbright grant with a curiosity for learning – learning the Korean language, Korean history, and about human rights movements in the Korean peninsula. As an undergraduate in history at the University of Chicago, Jones became interested in the Gwangju Uprising of 1980. Embracing her placement in Gwangju as an ETA, her motivation to pursue graduate studies on Korea intensified.
Jones remained in Korea and went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Korean Studies from Seoul National University. The opportunity to continue to study the Korean language and participate as an observer in contemporary social movements allowed Jones access to additional relevant background knowledge. As she became more confident in the language, she dug deeper into other civil rights movements throughout Korea, learning from the adoptee, unwed mother, and queer communities.
As a second year PhD student in Sociology at the University of Michigan, Jones is expanding on her previous work to do a more comprehensive study of the impacts of sexuality and human rights social movements on law. She comes to Korea annually in order to analyze media representation of queer issues and work with community organizers. A moment she found particularly memorable was attending the queer pride festival in Seoul last year, where she got to see 25,000 attendees enjoying and affirming the victory of local activists who fought to hold the 16th annual pride festival.
Identifying her grant as a turning point in her career, Jones encourages current grantees to get involved in their communities so that they can learn directly from the source. She says, “I want to emphasize the importance of utilizing the resources that Fulbright provides for its grantees. I did so, and that tremendously helped me get to the point where I am at today.”
Chelle Jones has her B.A. in History (2006) from the University of Chicago and her M.A. in Korean Studies (2014) from Seoul National University, South Korea. Her MA thesis contrasted feminist movement discourse with South Korean Supreme Court judgements by analyzing the sex trafficking prevention case law and local social movements for sex workers’ rights. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology at The University of Michigan. Her research focus is on social movements, power, gender and sexuality. You can contact Chelle at email@example.com.