Sad News - Professor Hyung Il Pai

June 12, 2018

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

I am saddened to share with you the news that Professor Hyung Il Pai passed away on May 28, 2018, after a long illness. Professor Pai was a member of our Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, and an affiliated faculty member in our History Department.

A renowned scholar in her field, she made notable contributions through her research on nationalism and the formation of Korean and Japanese cultural and ethnic identity, cultural heritage management, museum studies, and tourism studies.

Professor Pai joined our faculty in 1990. She held a bachelor’s degree in History from Sogang University, Seoul, and master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University. Her influential books include Constructing Korean Origins: Archaeology, Historiography, and Racial Myth and Heritage Management in Japan and Korea: The Politics of Antiquity and Identity, in addition to numerous book chapters and scholarly articles.

Professor Pai received prestigious fellowships throughout her distinguished career, including a University of California President’s Fellowship to conduct research at the Seoul National Museum of Korea. She conducted field and archival work as a visiting scholar at prominent universities and research institutes including the UC Berkeley Center for Korean Studies, the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, Kyoto University, the University of Tokyo, and the Tokyo National Research Institute of Cultural Properties. In 2010-11, she was a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Scholar at the Kyujanggak Institute at Seoul National University.

Professor Pai’s great enthusiasm for scholarship and teaching carried her through a long illness. Her passion for East Asian anthropology, culture, and history was contagious and inspired her dedicated students in classes ranging from Korean Anthropology and Archaeology to Korean Drama and Film. She worked tirelessly to promote Korean Studies at UC Santa Barbara, most recently helping to organize a March 2018 conference on “New Directions in Korean Studies.”

Professor Pai will be greatly missed by our campus, especially our colleagues in East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies and in History. A memorial is planned for the fall.

We extend our deepest condolences to her husband, Alex, and their family. Our campus flag will be lowered in her memory on June 26.


Henry T. Yang