Celeste Arrington

Celeste Arrington

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

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. In 2017-2018, she is a fellow at the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

Current Research

Professor Arrington is currently writing a book analyzing lawyers' roles in the growing prominence of litigation, the courts, and rights language in Japanese and Korean politics. The book project focuses on policies related to persons with disabilities and tobacco control. Other projects explore lawsuits for historical redress, how activist lawyers organize, the North Korean human rights issue in cross-national perspective, disability rights, and litigation as a form of political participation.


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 17:1 (2017): 69-93.

“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

On leave 2017-18 (fellow, Program in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University)

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