Itinerant Belonging: Korean Transnational Mobility to and from Mexico


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Ethnic Studies


This project examines the Korean community in Mexico, centering the transnational social infrastructures and socialities produced and maintained through temporary migration. Based on archival, ethnographic, and interview data, it analyzes the relationship between mobility and belonging for two migratory cohorts: Korean re-migrants, primarily from South America, and the descendants of Korean “coolies” who came to work on henequen haciendas of the Yucatán peninsula in the early twentieth century. Both groups are characterized by serial and temporary migration patterns across the Americas and the Pacific. Rather than dismissing such migrants as culturally and politically dislocated, with little impact on local cultures and societies, this research forefronts how migrants express itinerant belonging by building mobile assemblages of transnational community—business networks, church organizations, and cultural imaginaries that ultimately shape the social spaces in which they reside.