Angela Yoonjeong McClean 


Welcome! My name is Angela Yoonjeong McClean. I am a Postdoctoral Associate in East Asian Studies and Lecturer in Sociology at Yale University. In August 2024, I will join the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, as the Korea Foundation Assistant Professor of Korean Politics and Society, housed in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. 

My broad research interests include international and forced migration, political sociology, law and society, transnational and global sociology, social movements, and Asian/Asian-American Studies. 

In my dissertation and book project, I study state and societal responses to asylum claims and refugee inflows, focusing particularly on South Korea, a rich Asian democracy that is part of the "Global North" but recognizes an exceptionally small number of refugees relative to its Western counterparts. In complicating the traditional narratives that elusively point to the "exclusionary national identity" as the source of Korea’s restrictiveness towards refugees, I show how the Korean bureaucratic and judicial agencies adjudicating asylum claims make it nearly impossible for asylum-seekers to win their cases. 

My research has appeared in International Political Sociology and Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, as well as public outlets like 9Dashline and The Conversation. My work has been funded by the Korea Foundation, the Academy of Korean Studies, and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Previously, I was a Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan's Nam Center for Korean Studies. I completed my Ph.D. in Sociology at UCSD in 2021, where I was also a San Diego Fellow and a researcher at CCIS. Before UCSD, I worked as Associate Director at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and as Program Manager at the U.S.-Korea Institute at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. I received an A.M. in Regional Studies - East Asia from Harvard University, and a B.A. in East Asian Studies and American Studies (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Wellesley College. 

Please email me at if you have any questions.