June 2024 Researcher’s Window: Dr. Hyun-Kyung You

Taking a closer look at research and experiences of SSHD members

Researcher’s Window

This month we are getting better acquainted with the research of Dr. Hyun-Kyung You. She is a Professor in Child Development at California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt.

  1. What drew you to do work in your field?

My interest in human development started with the introductory psychology class, about thirty years ago. As I freshly arrived in a predominantly white, small college town in the United States, I was struck by the importance and problems of race(s). How young do children become aware of other races? How early do children develop racial prejudice? Not only was I exploring these ideas in the literature, but also encountering them in my interactions with other immigrants and their children.

  1. Did you have any mentor or a researcher who had a substantial influence on your path or work?

There are a few inspiring teachers and mentors in my professional and scholarly journey. Dr. Lori McGraw challenged yet nurtured me throughout my doctoral program, as we engaged in endless discussions on the intersectionality of motherhood, disability, class, and culture. Dr. Sharon Rosenkoetter offered me many opportunities, from teaching young children to working with early childhood leaders.

  1. You have a range of important work, select 1-2 findings that you feel are key contributions to human development and describe those in brief. 

My scholarship has centered on individuals’ agentic relationship with their social and cultural contexts. We constantly negotiate who we are, what roles are salient to us, and how we create and maintain relationships through resistance and conformation; disagreement and agreement. I particularly saw this dialect exchange in my qualitative study on Korean mothers’ understanding of themselves and their children with autism. While it was challenging for these women to resist Korean culture’s “good” mother ideology, they reconstructed the meaning of “normal” childhood.

I am currently interested in transnational habitus (Nukaga, 2012) and transnational family caregiving among immigrants. This exploration also acknowledges human development in relation to spaces and times.

  1. Your one wish for the study of human development

I think that more collaborations across cultures and disciplines would advance our understanding of human development. Perhaps SSHD will be a great platform for those.

  1. A mentoring statement or quote you find most meaningful or life-changing

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” (Paulo Coelho, the Alchemist)

About the researcher

Hyun-Kyung You is Professor in the Child Development Department at California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt. Hyun-Kyung’s research focuses on the dialectic interactions between individuals’ agency and sociocultural contexts. Particularly, she is interested in family life in relation to child’s disability, motherhood in cultural contexts, and intergenerational relationships and caregiving in transnational families. Hyun-Kyung also has broadened her research interest into understanding the BTS fandom, ARMY (Adorable Representative MC of Youth) through human development and family studies lens. She is a recipient of 2012 Jessie Bernard Outstanding Research Paper Award from a Feminist Perspective, National Council on Family Relations. Hyun-Kyung teaches various courses on early childhood development and practices, families and children with disabilities, and families in community and cultural contexts.

Edited and launched by Yoko Yamamoto, Deborah J. Johnson, and Qingyang Liu

SSHD Publicity & Diversity Science Initiative Committee

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