Shyun (Suhyun) J. Ahn

安 丁 秀賢

(Soon-to-be former) Ph.D. Candidate and Translator
Department of East Asian Studies at Princeton University
suhyun.j.ahn (at) gmail (dot) com

Throughout my time at Princeton University as a Ph.D. candidate, I have explored topics in moral and politico-legal philosophy in relation to neo-Confucianism (i.e., Confucianism from Song, Ming, early Qing, and Joseon dynasties). I have been fascinated by neo-Confucian discourses because they often delve into moral metaphysics and epistemology from an individual agent’s perspective while using these ideas to improve sociopolitical and legal circumstances. A community compact (鄉約) would be one such example. These intellectual and practical inspirations resonated with me, and I aspired to refine philosophical arguments in these works and find contemporary relevance.

I passed the general examination in October 2022 and advanced to candidacy (major field: neo-Confucian philosophy, minor fields: legal philosophy in the analytic tradition and Chinese politics). However, I have faced an administrative obstacle since then, and I am looking to take a break from higher education and eventually switch a field. I plan to return and study analytic philosophy and American law. My hope is to incorporate my past specialty and field experience in future academic endeavors. For my previous academic work, one of my papers is forthcoming in the Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture for the February 2023 issue. I will share the link when it is available, but please feel free to ask me for a copy for the time being.

In my free time, I translate contemporary Korean poetry for fun. I have translated Glory Hole by Kim Hyun (Seagull Books, June 2022), and I am translating a poetry collection by Oh Eun, which is planned to be published by Black Ocean. My earlier works, some of which were featured in an IB textbook and online journal, are available on AhnTranslation. I was the founder and editor-in-chief of Nabillera: Contemporary Korean Literature until I started graduate school.

Before coming to Princeton, I got B.A. with summa cum laude at Tufts University, majoring in International Literary and Visual Studies (East Asian literature track) and Philosophy. I also took Confucianism-related seminars and courses in China and Korea and worked with neo-Confucianism specialists in Korea before enrolling at Princeton.

Fun fact: Jeong (丁) is indeed my legal middle name. It is also my mother’s last name. By coincidence, the English initial and the hanja character of my middle name look alike.