Ep. 6 – Robert Hamilton on “living while Black” and sex (studies) in Korea

Robert Hamilton is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Seoul National University. Robert’s research focuses on geographies of sexualities, transnational sexuality, queer theory, and male prostitution. He has lived in Korea for nearly twenty years. He is also an African American, and we explore what that means in Korea, how that has evolved over time, and what kind of obstacles and opportunities it presents.

Show Notes

01:50               why the interest in Korea / Asia?

03:15               on coming to Asia for the first time

03:50               on wholesale culture in Japan

04:51               on coming to Korea for the first time

05:48               culture shock in Korea

07:18               why trip to Korea was life altering

09:00               on studying at an all-women’s university (Ehwa University)

09:25               learning what nationalism means in Korea

12:54               how Korea and Japan were different in 1990s

13:20               on political undertones of Korean music (KPOP)

13:56               the Black experience in South Korea

16:40               why foreigners wear suits

17:40               is it getting easier to live in Korea

18:23               on pop culture and race

20:03               differences between Korea and China

21:00               linguistic discrimination

21:59               why non-Koreans struggle in Korean society

23:08               a day in the life of a Black man in South Korea

24:00               linguistic discrimination part II

25:37               typecasting and discrimination in Korean media entertainment

29:42               racism in America vs racism in Korea

30:21               why we shouldn’t call Korea ‘multicultural’

33:07               on studying the international gay community in Korea

34:04               third spaces

34:43               the Gay Bean (Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf)

37:40               transnational closets

38:48               the effect of the Asia Financial crisis on coming out

41:29               homophobia in Korea

43:17               the fallacy of ‘post-gay’

44:08               why being different can be problematic

45:25               how gay rights movement in America effects Korea

49:43               what ‘gay’ means in Korea

50:37               on masculinity / physical intimacy

52:48               how Koreans react to LGBTQ research

58:10               masculinity part II

01:01:59          religious influence on gay rights legislation

01:05:05          should you come to Korea if you’re black?

01:07:56          on ducks and horses

01:10:44          on what home means

01:12:06          what would your billboard say?

01:12:32          three books on sexuality in Asia

People, Places, Things Mentioned on the Show

Anglican Church of Korea

Anti-discrimination law

Asia Library at University of Michigan

Asian Financial Crisis


Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Coffee shop fortunate tellers

David F. Greenberg

Dennis Altman

Edward Soja

Ehwa Women’s University



Feminism in Korea


Gay Rights in Korea

Gender identities in Thailand

Global Sex

Hangul (한글)

History of Korea-Japan relations


Hong Seok Cheon (홍석천)

Insooni (인순이)

Hiking in South Korea (and what to wear)

John Cho

Jongno District

Konishiki Yasokichi

Korea under Japanese rule

Korean nationalism

Korean War


Linguistic discrimination (languagism)


Mark McLelland

Queer Japan from the Pacific War to the Internet Age

Queer Wars

Sam Okyere
Non-Summit (비정상회담)

Sarah Lawrence College

Seo Taiji (서태지)

Stephen O. Murray


The Construction of Homosexuality

The Gay Bean (Coffee Bean)

Traveling from Fukuoka to Busan

University of Michigan

Yonsei University