Iain Sands

Iain Sands

PhD Student

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Works at Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies
Telephone 08-16 17 84
Visiting address Kräftriket 4B
Room 6
Postal address Koreanska 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I completed an MA (First Class Honours) in Asian Studies at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. My MA thesis title was Exiles in the 'Ethnic Homeland' - Trauma, Discourse, and the Negotiation of Diasporic Identity for North Koreans in South Korea.

I also hold a Graduate Diploma in music performance from Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Australia.



Lectures in the following courses:

North Korean Society and Culture (2017, 2019)

- Introductory Lecture: North Korea – “rogue state” or something else besides? Deconstructing popular discourse about North Korea.

- “Our Style of Socialism”: Development and impacts of chuch’e ideology

- Beyond catastrophe 2: The collapse of the Soviet system followed by the death of Kim Il-Sung

- North Korea in transition: Introduction of market elements and changes in everyday life

- Chuch’e Arts: Visual and Performing Arts in North Korea


South Korean Society and Culture (2017)

- Culture, Gender, and Sexuality in K-pop performances


Inter-Korean Relations (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)

- North Korean refugee experiences: Images and Narratives




My PhD research focuses on performance practices of North Koreans in South Korea.

Concurrently with Korean Studies, my research interests include: Performance Studies; Performativity; Gender; Affect theory; Trauma theory.



A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Iain Sands. Cross-Currents (29), 31-51

    North Korean women encounter traumatic experiences escaping from North Korea. Upon arriving in South Korea, despite being officially welcomed as co-ethnics, many North Korean migrants find that their hopes for a better life are not realized. On the one hand, women arriving from the North are ethnic Koreans and speak the same language as South Koreans. On the other hand, they are in a territory whose culture and society are entirely foreign to them. Against this background, women from North Korea experience considerable trauma in South Korea as they struggle to negotiate new identities as gendered, liminal subjects in a cultural borderland. This article discusses a dance performance by an all-female performing arts troupe, P’yŏngyang Minsok Yesultan, to answer the following questions: How does the performance articulate traumatic and gendered migration experiences? To what extent might performance restore agency for North Korean trauma subjects? By closely engaging with North Korean women’s migration experiences and their performance practices in South Korea, the author shows that performance practices represent potentially empowering, affective sites that may open a space for restoration of North Korean women’s agency.

Show all publications by Iain Sands at Stockholm University

Last updated: November 21, 2019

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