“Data Storytelling”: An Evidence-based Approach to Regional Studies”

Research Aims

Regional studies have traditionally focused on field research, participatory observation, and case-based research methods to apprehend distinctive characteristics of each region in order to promote multifaceted and complex understandings. However, in the era of data, there are new opportunities to innovate and synthesize theoretical and methodological approaches aimed towards a multifaceted understanding of regions through the application of empirical data. As such, the “Data Storytelling Cluster” aims to present data storytelling in new ways to describe the complex dynamics of Asian regions and Mega Asia.

The “Data Storytelling Cluster” empirically seeks to investigate the formation and dynamics of Mega Asia using data science approaches, such as big data, machine learning, and visualization as well as humanistic insights based on narrative and observation and seeks to develop new methodologies for comparative regional research.

Through a combination and synthesis of research of the “Mega Asia Research Cluster” and the “Comparative Regional Studies Cluster,” which explore the formation and variation of Mega Asia and Asian regions, and the “Data Storytelling Cluster,” which collects and analyzes diverse data related to Asia, it is hoped that evidence-based results will both complement studies as well as shed light on new perspectives.

Research Team
  • Dr. Jongil Kim(Prof. in Archaeology at SNU, Affiliated Researcher, Cluster Head)
  • Dr. SooJin Park(Prof. in Geography at SNU, Affiliated Researcher, Director of the HK+ Mega-Asia Research Group)
  • Dr. Jaeyeol Yee(Prof. in Sociology at SNU, Affiliated Researcher, Director of Korea Social Science Data Archive)
  • Dr. Seonyoung Park(HK Research Professor, Historical Geography)
  • Dr. Woo Jin Shim(HK Research Professor, Geography)
  • Dr. Jungwon Huh(HK Research Professor, Social Welfare)
Cluster Research Publications
Volume 1. Asia’s Heritage Trends: Internal and External Perspectives

This book explores Asia’s past with a focus on Asian cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, and attempts to reveal what “cultural heritage data” can say about Asian regions and their historical experiences. This volume seeks to achieve two goals. The first goal is to gather extensive data on cultural properties. The second goal is to identify, define, and explore trends for “Asian cultural heritage.”

The concept of “Asian cultural heritage trends” is constantly evolving and changing according to interpretations and descriptions of heritage and its meaning and value. These studies specifically focus on three categories of changing and evolving cultural heritage trends in Asia: 1) aesthetics, 2) archaeological progress, and 3) international investment patterns in Asian cultural heritage



  • Introduction: Asia’s shifting and evolving heritage trend, Prof. Jongil Kim(Seoul National Univ.)
  • Heritage Values in the Asian Context – International approach and the Asian context, Dr. John Carman(University of Birmingham)
  • Asia’s Heritage Trend: Underpinning the key components and perspectives, Minjae Zoh(SNUAC_HK)
  • Heritage: China, UNESCO and the Silk Road Narrative, Prof. Susan Whitfield(Univ. of East Anglia)
  • Asia’s colonial heritage – making between nationalism and transnationalism: colonial prisons in South Korea, Taiwan, and China, Dr. Hyun Kyung Lee(Hankuk Univ. of Foreign Studies)
  • Recent research at the Plain of Jars World Heritage Site, Prof. Dougauld O’Reilly(Australian National Univ.) and Dr. Louise Shewan (Melbourne Univ.)
  • Investigating the residences and everyday lives of the people of Angkor, Dr. Alison Carter(Oregon Univ.)
  • ‘Leave No Stone Unturned’: Exploring Behavioral Variability in Expedient Stone Tool Assemblages, Benjamin Utting(Univ. of Cambridge)
  • Post-junta heritage investment in Myanmar: The fractured heritagescape of the Secretariat and contesting Colonial Ragoon, Alicia Stevens(Univ. of Cambridge)
  • Heritage, Nationalism and Cultural Diplomacy in Afghanistan since 2001: A Case Study of the National Museum, Kabul, Dr. J. Eva Meharry(Univ. of Cambridge)
  • Rights to Heritage and the Environment in Thailand: A case study of Kaeng Krachen National Park, Alisa Santikarn(Univ. of Cambridge)
Volume 2. Atlas: Drawing Asia’s Natural Environment with Data

In addition to human elements, another major factor that forms the identity of a region is its natural environment. Asia is the world’s largest continent accounting for about 30% of the world’s terrestrial surface area, and its natural environment, including topography and climate, is diverse. Therefore, the process of collecting and arranging complex and diverse data related to Asia’s natural environment is essential for establishing basic data to understand the dynamics and identities of Asian regions.

This series aims to organize information about the natural environment of Asia in the form of an atlas. Today, many countries and organizations publish atlases, which organize information by mapping geographic knowledge and various statistical data. Since the mapping of information is a form of standardization, the publication of an atlas also requires that various environmental data from Asia must be provided in a standardized form. It is further hoped that the information compiled in the volume will contribute to a better understanding of the research units and division of regions as proposed by the Mega Asia Research Cluster through the visualization of data.



  • The Location and Territorial Boundaries of Countries (and Regions), Soojin Park (Department of Geography, Seoul National University)
  • Asia as Seen through Ancient Maps, Changmo Chae (Emeritus Professor, Konkuk University)
  • Historical Changes in the Territory (Boundaries) of Asia, Yogeun Jeong (Department of Korean History, Seoul National University)
  • Regional Divisions of Asia, Seonyoung Park (SNUAC_HK)
  • The Geology of Asia, Changhwan Oh (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Jeonbuk National University)
  • The Climate of Asia, Eungil Lee (Department of Geography, Kyung Hee University)
  • Asia’s Climate and Vegetation Change, Jeongjae Bak (Department of Geography, Seoul National University)
  • Characteristics of the Geomorphological Landscape of Asia, Soojin Park (Department of Geography, Seoul National University)
  • Water Resources and the Hydrologic Environment of Asia, Yukia Tanaka (Department of Geography, Kyung Hee University)
  • The Ecological Diversity of Asia, Daehyeon Kim (Department of Geography, Seoul National University)
  • Ecological Folk Knowledge of Asia, Dowon Kim (Emeritus Professor, Seoul National University)
  • Land Use Change and Degradation in Asia, Ujin Shim (SNUAC_HK)
  • Changes in the Ecological Services of Asia, Ilgwon Kim (National Institute of Ecology)
  • Environmental Catastrophes and Environmental Cooperation in Asia, Sujeong Myeong (Korea Environment Institute)
Volume 3. Network Asia: Asian Trends and Relationships through Data

Whether there is one Asia or a single Asian identity is a simple question that is difficult to answer. It is difficult to provide an account of the current state of Asia’s extremely diverse countries and a single Asia that encompasses many regions, politics, economies, and cultures. But if we take a step back, there is clearly something in common that distinguishes Asia from other continents, even as it constantly undergoes change.

This volume attempts to look at Asia through the lens of relational perceptions. Through the application of data, the relationships between Asia and other continents as well as the flow of human, material, and emotional exchanges between Asian countries and regions is investigated. Moving beyond “substantialist approaches” that attempt to define nation-states as distinct units with distinct boundaries and identities, this series attempts to develop a new understanding of Asia through an examination of trends and relationships, which have become increasingly important in our highly connected society.



  • A V-Dem View of Asian Democracies, Wonho Bak (Department of Political Science and International Relations, Seoul National University)
  • Potentials and Limitations of Data-based Approaches to Asian Political Research, Yungyu Son (School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University)
  • The Human Rights Age: The Limitations of International Cooperation and Potential for Asian Regional Cooperation, Chanseok Seo (Department of Sociology, Chung-Ang University)
  • Social Networks and the Exchange of Human Resources among Asian Nations, Donghun Seol (Department of Sociology, Jeonbuk National University)
  • Varieties of Platform Societies in the Digital Age, Jaeyeol Lee (Department of Sociology, Seoul National University)
  • National Identity and Nationalism among Citizens of Northeast Asia, Donggyun Im (Department of Sociology, Seoul National University)
  • The Spread of the Korean Wave as Glocal Culture and the Exchange of Asian Pop Culture, Wonho Jang (Department of Urban Sociology, University of Seoul)
  • The Age of Migration: Diversity and Social Trust, Jungwon Huh (SNUAC_HK)