Hyun Sook Kim

Professor of Sociology; Co-director of Mellon Study Away Program in Miami; retired (June 2022)


I see the liberal arts education as being indispensable for living in a transnational 21st century world. The liberal arts offers a transdisciplinary window through which we can study the overlapping, shifting and contingent borders (and bodies) shaped by cultures and histories.  Making sense of spatial, cultural and geographical boundaries–such as those of migrant, diasporic and ethnic voices and subjectivities–requires us to engage intransdisciplinary and transcultural modes of thinking and ways of knowing.


MA & PhD in Sociology, The New School for Social Research–Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science, New York.

Intellectual Focus

I have been trained as a Historical Sociologist.  My first research area focused on how nation-states are formed through revolutions, violence and wars.  I have examined how territorial partitions and political massacres divide and destroy national communities, from which my publications focused on memories of violence, dialectics of state repression, and how androcentric and imperialist powers subjugate and silence colonized bodies.  My early writings dealt in particular about “Comfort Women” and militarized prostitution in Asia.  Illuminating subjugated histories and listening to how ‘the silenced’ speak in everyday life continues to be my intellectual focus.  With this, I am interested in the different, conflicting and alternative paths of ‘modernities’ that co-exist and shape one another.


I see my courses as spaces for activism.  Hence, I love to design courses that meld and cross disciplinary modes. From transdisciplinary approach, I teach about social, political and cultural processes. Over ten different courses of mine include: Cities, Global Poverty, Gender & Nation, Globalization, Immigration, Development, Genocide, Transculturality, and Inequality.

Designing and developing global cultural studies programs is another way to link my scholarship and teaching. In Fall 2019, I will co-launch a Mellon Study Away program in Miami on Transnational Activism. I have created similar transdisciplinary programs in South Africa (Winter 2018) and in Bhutan (Wheaton’s Bhutan Fall 2011).


2005. “Decolonizing the ‘Self’ & ‘Other’: Black, Postcolonial and Transnational Feminist Theories.” The Handbook on Feminist Research: Theory and Paxis, edited by Sharlene Hesse-Biber (Sage, 2005).

2005. Special Issue on “Gender-Sexuality-State-Nation.” Gender & Society 19(2), (April), Co-edited with Jyoti Puri.

2005. “Conceptualizing Gender-Sexuality-State-Nation: An Introduction.” Gender & Society, 19(2), (April), Co-authored with Jyoti Puri.

2005. “History and Memory: The ‘Comfort Women’ Controversy.” Bodies in Contact: Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History. Edited by Antoinette Burton and Tony Ballantyn (Duke University Press).

Program Description

Mellon Domestic-Study Abroad, Fall 2019 – Program Description (pdf)

Wheaton in Miami (pdf)
Bodies, Borders & Culture Crossings: Transnational Activism in/from Miami, Florida
Faculty-led Study Away Semester, Fall 2019