Ksenia Chizhova

Associate Professor of Korean Literature
Office Phone
204 Jones Hall
Office Hours

Office hours by appointment only.

  • Ph.D. in Literature and Cultural History of Premodern Korea, Columbia University

I combine the methodologies of literary and cultural studies to work on vernacular Korean writing and calligraphy from the 17th century to the present and open new avenues for the study of women, gender, and family in Korea.

My first book, Kinship Novels of Early Modern Korea: Between Genealogical Time and the Domestic Everyday), looks into the rise and fall of the lineage novel (kamun sosŏl), a genre that was coeval with Korean patrilineal kinship practice, and that narrated the kinship conflicts between the 17th and early 20th centuries. I ground the active cultural role of elite women—as readers, calligraphers, and manuscript makers—within the patriarchal kinship society, and show how vernacular Korean calligraphy evolved as aestheticized bodily discipline determined by the gender politics of kinship. Moreover, I uncover the contours of distinctly elite vernacular practices in a time and place where literary Chinese, the East Asian lingua franca, was understood by modern-day scholars as the only expression of sophisticated literary culture.  

Kinship Novels received the inaugural 2023 Hong Yung Lee Book Award of Berkeley’s Center for Korean Studies and an Honorable Mention for the James Palais Book Prize of the Association of Asian Studies.

My ongoing interest in vernacular Korean calligraphy leads me to my second, now in progress, book, Women in the Media History of the Korean Script: 1600/2000. In this project, I trace the shifts in gender politics and infrastructure of graphic media that shaped the visual aesthetics of the Korean script, from the 17th century calligraphic practice to the contemporary fonts and graphic design in the two Koreas. A chapter from this book focused on the use of calligraphy in North Korean mass mobilization art is available as an article in the 27.2 (2022) issue of the Journal of Korean Studies.

At Princeton, I tech a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses that intersect the study of Korea with the theoretical methodologies of cultural criticism.

Prior to joining Princeton in 2016, I spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at the Korea Institute of Australian National University after receiving my Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2015.

Courses taught


  • EAS 580 - Script Theories: Korea, East Asia, and Beyond
  • EAS 574 - Presentiments: Towards Modern Korean Literature


  • EAS 242/ GSS 243 - Korean Women: Postmodern to Premodern
  • EAS 372/ COM 386 - Strange Korean Families
  • EAS 369/ COM 358 - Korean Travel Narratives
  • EAS 216 - Writing and Culture of Premodern Korea
  • EAS 364/ GSS 405 - Queens, Courtesans, Nuns, and Workers: Korean Women in History
  • EAS 300 - Junior Seminar
  • HUM 234/ EAS 234 - East Asian Humanities II: Traditions and Transformations (co-taught)

Publications List

Peer reviewed articles:

  • “North Korean Calligraphy: Gender, Intimacy, and Political Incorporation, 1980s-2010s,” Journal of Korean Studies 27.2 (2022).
  • “Vernacular Itineraries: Korean Letters from Family to National Archive,” Journal of Korean Studies 24.2 (2019).
  • "Bodies of Texts: Women Calligraphers and the Elite Vernacular Culture of Late Chosŏn Korea (1392-1910),” The Journal of Asian Studies 77.1 (2018).

Book Chapters:

  • “The Elite Vernacular Korean Culture of Chosŏn (1392-1910): Indeterminacy, Hybridity, Strangeness,” in Routledge Companion to Korean Literatureedited by Heekyoung Cho (Routledge, 2022).
  • "Korean," in How Literatures Begin: A Global History, edited by Denis Feeney and Joel Lande (Princeton University Press, 2021).
  • "The Pledge at the Banquet of Moon-Gazing Pavilion: Gender, Fiction and the Discourse of Emotion,” in An Anthology of Premodern Korean Prose: Literary Selections from the Tenth to the Nineteenth Centuries, ed. Michael J. Pettid, Gregory N. Evon and Chan E. Park (Columbia University Press, 2018).

Editorial Work:

“Textual Materiality in Korea: Premodern to Postmodern.” A special issue of the Journal of Korean Studies 27.2 (2022)co-edited with Olga Fedorenko (Anthropology, Seoul National University).


“Kinship in the Bedroom: The Remarkable Reunion of Jade Mandarin Ducks,” Korean Literature Now 47 (March 2020).