Celeste Arrington

Celeste Arrington

Korea Foundation Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
Monroe 465
Phone: 202-994-6601

Areas of Expertise

Comparative politics, South Korea, Japan, North Korea, state-society relations, law and society, media and politics, Northeast Asian security.


Professor Arrington specializes in comparative politics, with a regional focus on the Koreas and Japan. Her research interests include civil society, social movements, democratic governance, law and society, policy-making processes, the media and politics, and qualitative methods. She is also interested in the international relations and security of Northeast Asia and transnational activism.

Professor Arrington earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and an A.B. from Princeton University. She was an advanced research fellow in the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Harvard University in 2010-2011. During the 2011-2012 year, she was a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She was also a member of the Mike and Maureen Mansfield Foundation’s U.S.-Japan Network for the Future and its U.S.-Korea Scholar-Policymaker Nexus.

Current Research

Professor Arrington's current research projects investigate various topics related to politics and the policy-making process in Japan and Korea, including disability rights, how lawyers organize, the effects of procedural rules on litigation as a form of political participation, lawsuits for historical redress, and the political significance of memoirs by North Korean defectors. She is working on a book manuscript that examines the changing role of the law and courts in Japanese and South Korean politics by focusing on how lawyers and litigation affect policy-making related to persons with disabilities and crime victims. 


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley



Accidental Activists: Victim Movements and Government Accountability in Japan and South Korea. Cornell University Press, 2016.

"The Access Paradox: Media Environment Diversity and Coverage of Activist Groups in Japan and Korea." Journal of East Asian Studies. Forthcoming.

“Leprosy, Legal Mobilization, and the Public Sphere in Japan and South Korea.” Law & Society Review 48:3 (2014): 563-593.

“The Abductions Issue in Japan and South Korea: Ten Years after Pyongyang’s Admission.” International Journal of Korean Studies 17:2 (2013): 108-139.

“The Politics of NGOs and Democratic Governance in South Korea and Japan,” (with Lee Sook-Jong). Pacific Focus 23:1 (2008): 75-96.

“Democratization and Changing Anti-American Sentiments in South Korea.” (with Oh Chang Hun). Asian Survey 47:2 (2007): 327-350.

Office Hours

Fall 2016: Wednesdays, 3-5 PM

Classes Taught

PSC 2368 Politics in the Two Koreas

PSC 6374 Korean Politics

PSC 3192 Protest and Participation in East Asia

PSC 6388 States and Societies in East Asia