Minsoo Kang is a historian and writer. Currently, he is an assistant professor of European intellectual history in the Department of History at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Kang is also an expert on the history of automata in science and in fiction.
Kang has published numerous books and articles on European history. In Of Tales and Enigmas, a collection of his essays and short stories, Kang adopts the styles of Western genre fiction to explore his personal vision of Korean history, which creates a marvelously surrealistic landscape where histories, ideas, and legends freely intermingle in a wonderful harmony.
Minsoo Kang was born in Seoul, South Korea, his father is a South Korean diplomat and his mother is a professor of French literature. In accordance with the international nature of his father's job, Kang grew up in Korea, Austria, Iran, Germany, Brunei, and other places for shorter periods. He is fluent in Korean and English, and can read in German and French.
Kang graduated from the University of Southern California in 1988 with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies of History, Philosophy, and Religion; he received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in European History from University of California, Los Angeles in 1991 and 2004, respectively.
Kang is an expert on the history of automata. His book Sublime Dreams of Living Machines looks at automata in the European imagination throughout history. While covering a broad history of golems, talking heads, mechanical ducks, and so forth, Kang pursues questions regarding how automata fit the historical periods that created them.
Kang is an assistant professor of Modern European history with a concentration in eighteenth and nineteenth century France, Britain, and Germany. His research focuses on intellectual and cultural history, the history of science and technology, and global history pertaining to interactions between Europeans and East Asians in the early modern period. He has also written several essays on Korean history focusing on the transition from the late Goryeo dynasty to the early Joseon.
Kang's work often explores the relationship between history and fiction. His master's thesis, The Intrusion of History: The Novels of Milan Kundera in the Context of Czechoslovak History pursued the idea of using literature for the study of history. He also studies film, historical novels, and science fiction as history.
Minsoo Kang’s translation of The Story of Hong Gildong is coming out in March 2015 from Penguin Classics.