Danielle Yorleny Tassara


United States


PhD Student, Department of Anthropology


Danielle Tassara is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focus is on migration, movement, and mobility, specifically in South Korea, and the ways in which certain movements become (in)visible, (in)validated, and (il)legal. She has carried out two main research projects in the past that build off each other. Her first research project for her B.A. Honors Thesis involved working with so-called "marriage migrants" (Filipina and Vietnamese women who had married Korean men and migrated to South Korea), where she examined the construction of motherhood as well as the ways in which these families carried out identity formation practices not only for their children but for themselve and their families as a whole. During this project, she honed in on what means to construct or promote ideas of Korean ethnic identity and how it intersects with gender politics. This focus on how South Korean identity and the role of gender is defined and presented developed into her Fulbright research project concerning North Korean female refugees and how they become entangled in the same identity-formation processes. Building upon her previous research with marriage migrants, she explored the consequences of contemporary and historical conventions on ethnic classification and group identification within Korean nationalism, and how they get applied more broadly to migrants in Korea. Her research has also expanded to include the importance of the law and legal interactions as migrants and refugees have to deal with notions of citizenship and legality that have significant influences on their ways of life. Currently, she is examining how the asylum-status process for refugees in South Korea and how refugees seeking to stay permanently are represented in various ways through media culture, as well as representational strategies employed by refugee advocacy groups and anti-refugee protestors. She will pay particular attention to the ways in which migration influences and is influenced by the way laws are implemented on the ground, the impact of visual depictions of who is “deserving” within the law and who is not, and the ways in which global and local processes shape and transform each other.