Justin Sprague

MA Women’s Studies, University of Maryland (2014)
MA Humanities, Old Dominion University (2012)
Women’s Studies Teaching Certificate, Old Dominion University (2012)
BA Communications, Old Dominion University (2009)

Photo of Justin Sprague

Justin received his MA in Humanities and a Graduate Teaching Certificate in Women’s Studies from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. While there, he taught the University’s introductory Women’s Studies course during a year-long pedagogy and theory program. He was also the president of the Old Dominion chapter of the Women’s Studies Honor Society, Triota, for three years. His thesis, titled “Behind the Silk Screen: A Critical Analysis of Translators, (In)visibility, and Alternative Translation Environments” explored various ways that the habitus of translators informs their cultural labor. Likewise, the opportunities to ameliorate issues of invisibility and more efficiently address concerns over culture, gender, and post-colonialism, using two translations of a Korean memoir and Korean soap-opera subtitling as case studies.

His current dissertation project is tentatively titled “Cooking with Mama Kim: The Legacy of Women Defining Korean-American Authenticity Through Food.” In this project, positioning women as gatekeepers of cultural authenticity, he explores the ways that Korean American foodways utilize and employ Korean “aunties” as symbols of authenticity and collective cultural nostalgia. He examines the women both as active agents in the branding of “authentic” Korean food and curating “authentic” Koreanness, but also the ways that Korean women leave imprints, or haunt, various other spaces as markers of cultural authenticity. Utilizing cookbooks, YouTube vloggers, restaurant spaces, grocery stores, and mixed-race digital forums, he aims to complicate traditional notions of authenticity as rigid ones, in favor of an adaptable and inclusive framework, as he terms, “plastic authenticity.”

Courses taught:
WMST250: Women, Art, and Culture (University of Maryland)
WMST201S: Women in a Changing World (Old Dominion University)