Jung Joon Lee

Society Fellow


Jung Joon Lee is Associate Professor in the Department of Theory and History of Art and Design at Rhode Island School of Design. A specialist in histories and theories of photography, Lee’s research and teaching interests span the intersections of art and politics, transoceanic intimacies and decoloniality, and gender and sexuality.

Lee’s forthcoming monograph, Shooting for Change: Korean Photography after the War (under contract with Duke University Press) explores the onto-epistemology of “national” photography through the ways that photography in Korea and its diaspora presents an everyday cathected by 20th-century war and militarism and their ongoing pervasiveness. Lee is currently working on two book projects: a monograph exploring exhibitions as a space of minoritarian aesthetics, kinship-making, and historical rupture; and the co-edited volume Queer Feminist Elsewhere: Decolonial Making in Trans-Pacific Art, bringing together writings and artworks by scholars, artists and activists on queer feminist praxis in Korea and the Korean diaspora. Lee has published in such journals as History of Photography, photographies, TransAsia Photography, and PhotoResearcher. Lee’s recent publications include essays on Cold War temporality and images of transnational adoption; and queer methodological explorations of military photography.

In Spring 2022, Lee was the visiting professor of media studies and critical theory at the Graduate School of Communication and Arts, Yonsei University. Prior to her studies in art history, Lee trained in urban planning and worked for a global planning consortium. Issues of urbanity remain one of Lee’s major interests.

Research Focus

Queer World-Making in Asian and Asian American Art: On Reparative Kinships

Jung Joon Lee’s project interrogates the reparative politics in Asian American histories through examining selected site-specific, cross-Pacific, and intergenerational collaborative works by Asian and Asian American artists. From there, Lee’s project reimagines the collaborative art making as queer world-making, through which new kinships are formed and posits this queer world-making as a praxis of repair. Initiated before the Covid-19 outbreak and finding profound resonances in times of escalating anti-Asian racism since the onset of the pandemic, Lee’s research examines how Asian and Asian American artists living and working between Asia and North America have organized themselves and created artistic spaces where new kinships are formed and solidarity is strengthened. Such spaces have not necessarily been institutionally supported but developed in personal and independently established network. They seek to repair the racialized disconnections (both within and between North America and Asia) that relegate Asian Americans perpetually to “resident aliens” and marginalize them, while refusing to partake in the white supremacist, neoliberal, assimilationist politics. Anchored in queer and feminist theories of media and performance and critical race theory, Lee weaves together postcolonial and feminist critiques of Euro and Anglo-centric historicism to develop a methodology for exploring multisensorial and affective experiences of art making and experiencing in the Asian Americas, with the backdrop of the haunting post/memories of diasporic lives vis-à-vis American militarism, anti-Black racism, settler colonialism, and long-distance nationalism.