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Phillips Andover Academy

Graduation, 1990


It is after having been recruited through a non-profit organization A Better Chance, Inc. (A.B.C.)  that I was encouraged to apply to here, the oldest boarding school in the United States. It is also the place where my desire for a liberal arts education of great depth and breadth found its most volatile tinder and evolved into a full-on obsession with learning for learning's sake. My time at Andover validated my relationship with ideas and the nuturing of the intellect as a positive good unto itself. 


Brown University

BA with double major in History and American Civilization, 1994

After an initial failed attempt at early admission in December of 1989, which resulted in being waitlisted until regular admission in May, 1990, I dove into my liberal arts education, beginning with courses as varied as "The Archeology of Death," taught by a true archeologist/professor nothing like Indiana Jones and "Nuclear Weapons Technology and Policy," which was taught by a physicist. My first year set the stage and tone for four years of pushing my boundaries and comfort levels with new ideas, people, and approaches to life. 

University of California,

Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies (Fall, 2014)

MA in Comparative Ethnic Studies (Fall, 1998)

After taking two years to do a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in South Korea, teaching in two middle schools and living with a host family, I decided that I had to complete my intellectual journey while also preparing for a career in teaching and research. My interests and led to my dissertation on Korean national identity construction and further study in Korea, which brought me back to Korea (Seoul, specifically) in 2002. 



Fulbright Junior Researcher
in Seoul

After a second year as a Fulbright ETA, during which I decided to apply to graduate school in the Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, my first major seminar paper at Berkeley revolved around the doduk (ethics) textbook I had taken to the US with me from my former middle school. After what I came to consider my first succeessful and serious academic foray into what would now be called "Korean Studies"as a grad student, my dissertation would also take a similarly Korean turn. I then decided to return to Korea for dissertation research via a Fulbright full grant as a junior researcher. However, since I had previously been a Fulbright ETA, this violated the rule about having multiple Fulbright grants. After appealing the rule, on the grounds that the ETA position was scarcely able to be considered a full grant-level of burden to the State Department and American taxpayer, I applied and successfully received it. I would be the first, but not the last, Fulbright ETA and junior researcher to go back and forth to Korea, a path I was honored and proud to forge. This change in policy made sense to me, mostly because it was the expressed purpose of the Fulbright ETA grant to turn promising young Americans into the direction of Korean concerns, even as the Fulbright full grants remains one of the best ways to come to Korea in order to do serious academic work.



Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA)
1994-1996 on Jeju Island


After a walk across the campus Green in 1993, while pondering my future prospects after my then-impending graduation, the most apropos-seeming vocation related to teaching was Teach for America, but I had not heard great things about retention and support within that program. Feeling open to other options, and after bumping into a good friend who always seemed two steps of wherever she was at the moment, I decided to follow her into the Fellowships Office, as per her suggestion. The Fulbright scholarships binder struck my eye, and to my surprise, there was a Fulbright "English Teaching Assistant" position open in South Korea, which required no formal knowledge or research plan about the country, which appealed to my desire to go because of my long-standing interest in the country because of family ties there, and it turned out to be a great way to start off a deep, significant experience there without knowing too much about the place. After receiving the grant, leaving for orientation, and being placed in a host family and middle school on Jeju Island, the year-long initial grant (which I would renew and turn into two) turned out to a life-changing experience – one that affects me to the present day and my orientation towards pursuing Korean Studies research in Korea.






The Turn to Photography (2002-2003)
Both during and immediately after my Fulbright grant year, I had already begun profession photographic work as  a street and documentary photographer. I had taken to the streets and quickly become known for my photographic work, the first Korea-based foreign photographer to do street/documentary work of its kind in Korea. My weekly photo column became a fixture of the Seoul Selection email newsletter, which had a following from expat English teachers up to the American ambassador, which eventuality resulted in my doing a monthly photo and text column in the print magazine SEOUL. Before long I was well known as a documentary photographer with an ethnographic bent much more than I was known as a researcjer or grad student. It was due to this that the then-director of the Korea Fulbright Commission, Dr. Horace Underwood, suggested that I might want to do my required Fulbright Forum presentation in which grantees offer a summary of the year's research activities (for my 2002-2003  Junior Researcher position, in my case) for the general Korean public. I eagerly agreed and the Fulbright office informed me that my forum resulted in the most heavily attended one in the history of the Fulbright Forum itself, a fact I was quite proud of and which gave me the positive affirmation to pursue photography more aggressively as a self-described photographer.

A drag queen/DJ and former owner of the gay/transgender club TRANCE prepares for work. (Itaewon, 2002) Even (and especially) as a photographer, good ethnography was always a major goal of the work. 

A drag queen/DJ and former owner of the gay/transgender club TRANCE prepares for work. (Itaewon, 2002) Even (and especially) as a photographer, good ethnography was always a major goal of the work. 

Korea through the Lens (2003-2006)
After the Fulbright grant ended, I had to work. Through Fulbright connections, I procured a part-time position as a Consulting Editor at the academic publication Korea Journal, where I stayed for around 6 years, when the position itself was restructured into a more full-time position and then eventually, outsourced completely. It was a good way to stay academically grounded even as I worked as a foreign language high school US History teacher and an adjunct lecturer in various universities around Seoul. I was the end copywriter, responsible for making corrections through Korean-inflected translations into English, and often had to check back into the Korean-language originals in order to make a good and proper final version. In the meantime, I was living a 10-6 life in Myeongdong, the heart of downtown Seoul, shooting street and what would be called" street fashion" on the days my job took me to that part of the city. 

One of my first ethnographic portraits that would become "street fashion" (August, 2007).

One of my first ethnographic portraits that would become "street fashion" (August, 2007).

From Photography to Visual Sociology
From late 2006, I was actively doing street fashion photography and had started the first street fashion blog in Korea. I was quite busy and prolific as a photographer, and would publish a book called The Seoul Fashion Report in 2009. All this time, my research and writing energies had turned to documenting Korean street fashion as an emerging pattern of consumption in a fast-changing kind of Korean consumer capitalism. I really believe that I was in the middle of a seismic shift in the way personal identities were affected by the rapid and pervasively complete way consumptive behavior had come to redefine the nature of what social belonging means in South Korean life and sociBut one year turned into two, two turned into five, and my new identity and life as an ethnographic photographer had put me into a completely unexpected place in relation to where my original academic journey had begun. By the time 2012 had rolled around, I had decided it was time to finish what I had started and fully actualize myself as an ethnographic social investigator. In 2013, with the help of a stable job at Hongik University that included my own office and easy access to academic databases, I began in earnest the long process of completing my long-dormant doctoral dissertation from Berkeley. By December of 2014, I had successfully navigated my way through the administrative minutiae of reactivating my status at UC Berkeley, filing my dissertation, and making it through to the completion stage. As I looked for new positions to match my newfound paper-based qualifications for 2015, I realized that the best way to present myself to others as an a academic was in a way that maximally combined my extensive theoretical training and epistemological orientation in Cultural Studies, over 15 years of actual, practical experience on the ground as an ethnographer and professional photographer with stories and pictures in an assortment of media outlets from The Korea Herald and The Japan Times all the way to The Huffington Post and Vice Magazine, and a sociological approach to social phenomenae that took place primarily through the camera lens. The logical sub-field for me (and which became something I teach) was Visual Sociology. Methodologically and theoretically speaking, this is a field that is sufficiently developed to define itself through teachable theory, yet underdeveloped enough to lend itself to considerable adaptation and focused, particular application in the hands of particular practitioners such as myself.

Yes, Virginia, a Visual Sociology textbook actually  does  exist.

Yes, Virginia, a Visual Sociology textbook actually does exist.





My main interest as a professional photographer and professor is expressed through Sociology, the Sociology of fashion, and the developing sub-field of Visual Sociology. My activity as Korea's first street fashion photographer/ethnographer is focused through the main characters of Korean street fashion culture known as the paepi (the Korean portmanteau shortening of the English pronunciation of "fashion people") that has recently come to be understood as part of the "Korean Wave" or hallyu,  or the more recent formed field of Hallyu Studies. More recently, I have begun to approach Korean street fashion culture in terms of defining cultural geography and methodological considerations of ethnographic research methods in Visual Sociology, as well as Ethnomethodology and marketing, visual ethnography, and even urban architecture. My next research goal will involve taking my street fashion methodology to Pyongyang as a means of gathering a different kind of social data through the camera. 

An excerpt of the " Street Fashion Lookbook " published by the   Textile Industry News (TIN News)   newspaper in May, 2017. 

An excerpt of the "Street Fashion Lookbook" published by the Textile Industry News (TIN News) newspaper in May, 2017. 




• Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

9/16 – present, Adjunct Professor



“Visual Sociology”
"Hallyu Marketing"

• Hanguk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Korea / Department of Business Administration

9/16 – present, Assistant Professor



“Marketing Management”
“Marketing Channels"
“Hallyu Marketing”
“The Marketing of Subculture”


• Korea University International Summer Campus, Seoul, Korea

Summer 2016, Adjunct Professor



“Media, Art, Culture and Society”



• Korea University, Seoul, Korea / Department of Sociology

9/15 – 12/16, Adjunct Professor



“Visual Sociology”
“The Sociology of Popular Culture”


• Busan University of Foreign Studies, Busan, Korea / Department of International Education

3/15 – 3/16, Assistant Professor

Critical Korean Studies Program, Director


“Modern Korean History”
“Deconstructing the Korean Wave”
“History and Historiography”
“The Auteur Director”


• Hongik University, Seoul, Korea / Dept of Foreign Languages

9/13 – 2/15              Assistant Professor





“Understanding the Art of Photography” (사진에술이해)
“Screen English”
“American Culture”
“Current Issues in English”
“Basic English for Arts Majors”
“American Culture”


• Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea / Department of English language and Culture

9/11 – 8/12, Adjunct Professor




“Multicultural Literature”
“Understanding Media II”
“English Listening and Speaking”
“English Reading and Writing”
“Writing Level II”


• Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Korea / International Summer Session (Korean Studies) 

6/03 – 8/09, Adjunct Professor



“Social Problems in Korea”
“Gender and Femininity in Korea”

• Myongji University, Seoul, Korea

3/09 – 6/10, Adjunct Professor



“한류한국미디어에서의 이슈” (Understanding Hallyu and the Media)
“사진을 동한 한국의 이해” (Korean history through Photographs)

Ewha Woman's University Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation

9/04 - 2/05, Adjunct Professor




"Advanced (Academic) English for Interpretation"


• Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Korea / Department of English

8/04 – 9/06, Adjunct Professor

“Introduction to American Culture”



• Hanyoung Foreign Language High School, Seoul, Korea
3/09 – 6/10              Teacher in AP American History.

• Ewha Girls' Foreign Language High School, Seoul, Korea
9/06 – 12/08              Teacher in AP American History.

• Hanguk University of Foreign Studies Affiliated Foreign Language High School/ Hanguk Academy of Foreign Studies HAFS, Yongin, Korea
8/05 – 5/06       Teacher in AP US History.

• Daewon Foreign Language High School, Seoul, Korea
8/04 – 7/05              Teacher in American History.



• Media School, Yongsan-gu Kangweol-dong 101-5, Seoul, Korea
8/03 – 8/03              Supervising teacher for summer photo project.  With several photo students who had proposed a summer photo documentary trip to Guryeong-po and the Korean east coast, which was later published as an exhibit and documentary. All classes and interactions were conducted in Korean. 

3/03 – 6/03              Documentary photography teacher.  Continuing the course I had taught the previous semester at, I became the main teacher in the course, which was the first time I had ever taught in Korean without significant assistance. All classes and interactions were conducted in Korean. 

9/02 – 12/02            Documentary photography teacher.  Working in a Korean alternative school called, which is supported by the Seoul Alternative Learning Community Network (SALCN) and the Haja Youth Center, I co-taught a course in documentary photography to a group of around twelve at-risk Korean youth, in Korean.



• “YEOL 2016 December Lecture on Korean Culture”, for the YEOL Korean Cultural Heritage Society

12/5/2016        The Korean Paepi, Hallyu 3.0 and the Future of the Creative Economy (in English)

• “Hallyu Forum”, for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

1/27/2016        한국 ‘패피’와 창조경제(創造經濟)” (in Korean)

•  The Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch Special Lecture

2/10/2015         “The Visual Geography of the New Korea”

• Kangweon National University, for the Korean-American Student Conference (KASC)

7/5/2014          Minorities and Race in Korean Society (in English)

• 10 Magazine Monthly lecture

5/31/2014          "Reading the Streets: Korean Street Fashion" (in English)


• Yonsei University, for Cho Haejoang’s course "Cultural Anthropology in the Global Age" 

5/16/2013        The Male Gaze and Fetishistic Scopophilia” (in English and Korean)

10/11/2012      The Male Gaze and PSYsGangnam Style’” (in English and Korean)


• KAIST, for Korea’s First Astronaut Yi Soyeon’s “Science, Technology, Space and Society” course

10/19/2011      Space, Science, and Technology in Science Fiction Films (in English)

9/15/2010        Space, Science, and Technology in Science Fiction Films” (in English)


5/22/2010    Book Presentation at PLATOON Kunsthalle for “The Seoul Fashion Report”

(Presented in Korean)


Vice Magazine, (I-D section) / "The secret meanings behind seoul's outlandish street style trends"  written by Tim Chan / May 2, 2017


K-Phile (ARIRANG TV) / October, 2016

There is a foreigner in Korea creating a new type of Hallyu unknown to Koreans. Michael Hurt is a photographer who captures images of fashionistas in hot places of Seoul such as Hongdae, Itaewon, and Dongdaemun. Since 2002, he has been recording Korea's street fashion with his camera and observing the new wave of Hallyu.


Blog of the Los Angeles Review of Books / "The Real Life of Seoul, As Seen by Street Photographer Michael Hurt, written by Colin Marshall" / March 16, 2016


Blog of the Los Angeles Review of Books / "Capturing Seoul's Street Style: Michael Hurt's Fashion Photography" / April 13, 2016


"True ‘Gangnam Style’ Fashion" in The Huffington Post





ACADEMIC BOOK PROJECT: Korea, Capital of Hypermodernity: A Consideration of Korean Popular Culture through Visual Sociology and Cultural Studies

I am writing the book in short chapters online through Medium so that the chapters can be used in classes that are in dire need of theoretically dense-but-readable treatments of Korean popular culture that are 1) contemporary and fresh, and 2) not only about "K-pop."