From Nelson Graburn:
"Nancy Abelmann was a personal and family friend, a former advisee (PhD, U C Berkeley, 1990), a colleague and, more than any other graduate student, a teacher. We became acquainted at Berkeley through our mutual interest in anthropology and Japan and I became her supervisor for her doctoral dissertation. She had already spent a year at Minpaku (National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, and she was a sought after translator (by Prof. Nakamaki among others) for her command of Japanese. She became a teacher at my daughters’ Nippongogakuen (Saturday Japanese language school) in Oakland and they remember her to this day as the best they ever had. In 1987 when Kathy and I took my mother-in-law Shizuka Yaguchi to Japan for her Beiju (88th birthday celebration) Nancy invited us all to join her in Korea for a week. Not only did she take us around Seoul but we visited her village field site, Jeam-ri where in 1919 the Japanese army had locked the Koreans in their Church and burned them to death, the origin of the Samil (March 1st) Movement. Yet at lunch in a Korean farmhouse my mother-in-law recognized how much their life was like hers in Japan sixty years earlier and was moved to appreciate their humanity. Nancy wrote a brilliant thesis (a common adjective for her work and life) and after a postdoc settled in Urbana for the rest of her professional career. However, her first book was Blue Dreams, (written with John Lie) about the predicament of Korean-Americans in the Los Angeles riots. And she (and John Lie) reviewed Ishimori’s pioneer book (in Japanese) on tourism and music – Japanese tourism was an early interest of hers. And ‘the rest is history’ - to which she has contributed so much to so many people in the USA, Korea and Japan. Although we were all expecting the bad news, my daughters Eva wrote “So unfair…” and Cecily “So sad …” We couldn’t agree more, but we are also so thankful for Nancy’s life". (Nelson and Kathy Graburn, Berkeley, January 2016).
"I first met Nancy as a graduate student in our department. She had completed an outstanding dissertation (under Nelson [Graburn]) on the 'New Village Movement' in the industrializationof S. Korea, despite our not having a contemporary Korean specialist in on campus. Soon after, I was invited by her and John Lie to a workshop where they presented their first version of Blue Dreams (on post-Watts Korean immigrants, inter-ethnic tensions and