Meet Eilin Pérez, Visiting Assistant Professor of History

POSTED ON: October 17, 2023

Eilin Perez

This fall, we are excited to welcome several new full-time faculty members to The Cooper Union’s academic programs. As the final installment of our series introducing this new faculty cohort to our wider community, we spoke to Eilin Rafael Pérez who joins the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences as a visiting assistant professor of history. Pérez, whose research focuses on modern Korea, completed his Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago in 2022 after receiving a B.A. in Asian studies and history with honors from Williams College.

Tell us about your research interests.

I specialize in the modern history of Korean politics and culture. My current work considers the cultural production that emerged out of diplomatic engagement between Korea and the global South. In my research, writing, and teaching, I bridge understandings of decolonization and the Cold War by examining textual and visual materials from archives spanning Asia and the Americas.

What brought you to The Cooper Union?

I am drawn to the prospect of building community at The Cooper Union. This includes exploring what it means to make enlightened contributions to society with students, faculty, and staff. What brought me to Cooper was the belief that blending the tools of critical historical inquiry with civic engagement could contribute to Cooper’s institutional vision. I am also a native New Yorker!

What aspects of teaching are you most excited about in the academic year at Cooper?

Understanding what training in historical studies has brought me, I am compelled to make the study of history relevant to students regardless of their career path. The Cooper Union is the perfect place for students with interests across the arts, engineering, and architecture fields to develop understandings of what interpreting history can do for them. I am excited to draw upon the breadth of archives, museums, and libraries documenting the human experience in New York to enrich student learning at Cooper.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.