Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jennifer Patico

Second Advisor

Faidra Papavasiliou

Third Advisor

Megan Sinnott


Experiences of love provide a rich source to reveal how people organize social life such as intimate relationships, family, and marriage, as well as how individuals perform and transform within specific cultural, historical, and gendered contexts. The primary goal of this thesis is to understand how social changes affect women’s understandings of love, or more precisely, how processes of modernization and immigration shape Korean-American women’s experiences of love and expectations of marriage cross-generationally. I explore the stories of first-generation and 1.5-generation Korean-American women in Duluth, Georgia to analyze how their different sociocultural experiences before and within immigration construct the women’s understandings of love, marriage, and most importantly, the creation of the self and family and the systems of gender and sexuality. Ultimately, I argue that the apparent dichotomy between “tradition” and “modernity” does not adequately describe generational differences nor geographic ones, as both modern ideals of intimacy and notions of Korean tradition travel between first and 1.5 generation women, though differently experienced and expressed.