American Sociological Association

Sociology in Action: Pyong Gap Min

Pyong Gap Min, Queens College and the Graduate Center of CUNY, established and works with the Research Center for Korean Community based at Queens College in New York City. ASA asked Min about that work:

What is the mission of the organization? In 2009, I established the Research Center at Queens College to provide sociological data and information about Korean Americans and the U.S. Korean community to organizations serving that community. The RCKC collects, analyzes, and disseminates quantitative and qualitative data on Koreans in the United States. The Center is committed to preserving and enhancing the ethnic identity of Korean Americans and to helping the Korean community formulate long-term plans for its future in the larger context of American society. It is based on my idea of public sociology.

Could you describe the project?

  1. We conduct community-oriented research and collect public documents to disseminate to the Korean community and the Korean government through the Korean American Data Bank.
  2. We hold the annual North American or international conference to provide data and information for Korean Americans.
  3. We provide seminars on Korean Americans and overseas Koreans in Flushing, the heart of the Korean community in the NY-NJ area.
  4. We invite visiting scholars from Korea, Japan, and China and help them with their research on Korean Americans.
  5. We have a mini-library to keep books, journal articles, research reports, ethnic directories, ethnic newspapers, CDs, and other data sources for use by Korean Americans

What sociological knowledge and/or skills did you use?

  1. I use basic statistical techniques such as frequency tables, cross-tabulation tables, and figures to show changes in Korean Americans' demographic, settlement and socioeconomic characteristics, and immigration patterns.
  2. I use qualitative research techniques. We have published five books based on personal narratives by Korean American politicians, Korean-language teachers, Korean immigrant literary persons, younger-generation Koreans, and Korean community social workers.
  3. I am also writing an English-language book that provides basic statistical data on Korean Americans with four other graduate students.
  4. I have been writing a book focusing on the redress movement for victims of Japanese military sexual slavery. When completed, it is likely to be my most important book. This book project reflects my commitment to research for social justice, which is the other important aspect of my public sociology.

Is there anything else you would like to share about this work? I feel that our sociological knowledge is too statistical and too theoretical to be useful to the public.