In Memory of Yoonmee Chang

In Memory of Yoonmee Chang

In January, the college mourned the passing of faculty member Yoonmee Chang. Dr. Chang was an assistant professor in the Department of English and was affiliated with Mason’s Cultural Studies Program.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Dr. Chang grew up in the United States, where her family settled in Jericho, New York. She graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University in 1992, earning bachelor of arts degrees in art history and English, as well as membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

Dr. Chang received her PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, where she was instrumental in founding its Asian American Studies Program. Following her graduation, she served as an assistant professor of English and American studies at Indiana University and was awarded a Mellon post-doctoral fellowship at Northwestern University.

Arriving at Mason in 2005, Dr. Chang taught in the English and cultural studies departments. Her research interests included work in race and class, as well as disability studies. She was the author of Writing the Ghetto: Class, Authorship, and the Asian American Ethnic Enclave (Rutgers University Press, 2010). A poet, she published research and creative work in journals such as Modern Fiction Studies, the Journal of Asian American Studies, the Asian American Literature Review, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly. At the time of her death, she was working on a book on the zainichi, a group Korean people living in Japan who had immigrated prior to 1945, and their descendants.

Debra Lattanzi Shutika, English department faculty member and chair, noted Dr. Chang’s intellect and sense of humor, as well as her strong connection to the Korean community near Mason. “She was a greatly respected member of the department, and will be missed by her colleagues and students alike.”