Hyun Sook Kim

Professor of Sociology, Emerita
Co-director of Mellon Study Away Program in Miami
Retired (June 2022)



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


As a historical sociologist, I examine how nation-states are formed through revolutions, violence and war; in particular, about the ways that territorial partitions and massacres divide communities and destroy lives. Illuminating subjugated histories and how ’the silenced’ speak—about nationalism, colonialism, imperialism, militarization, and state violence—my research and writings focus on contestations of power and domination, repression and resistance, memories and memorialization. Conceptually and methodologically, I draw on transnational and postcolonial feminist perspectives, subaltern studies, transnational cultural studies, and Southern Theory (or Epistemologies of the South).

Select Publications

“Crossing Borders: Black, Postcolonial and Transnational Feminist Theories.” The Handbook on Feminist Research: Theory and Praxis, edited by Sharlene Hesse-Biber (Sage 2006).

Co-editor of the Special Issue on “Transnational Feminist Approaches to Conceptualizing Gender-Sexuality-State-Nation” for Gender & Society, 19 (2, April 2005) and co-author of the “Introduction.”

“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 2005)

“Contested Pasts and Uncharted Futures: Questions about Truths, Justice and Reconciliation,” History & Society (Sahoewa Yoksa), in Korean (May 2002).  (Special Issue on “Social History of Commissioning the Past”).

“Korea’s ‘Vietnam Question’: War Atrocities, National Identity and Reconciliation in Asia.”Positions: east asia cultures critique, Vol.9, No.3 (Winter 2001).

“History and Memory: The Comfort Women Controversy.”  Positions: east asia cultures critique, Vol. 5, No.1 (Spring 1997).

“`Yanggongju’ as an Allegory of the Nation: The Representations of Working-Class Women in Popular and Radical Texts.”  Dangerous Women: Gender and Korean Nationalism. Edited by C. Choi & E. Kim (Routledge 1997).  Also translated into and published in Korean (Samin Publishers 2001).

Teaching Interests

During my three decades of teaching at Wheaton, I have designed and taught a whole array of Sociology courses, from the foundational to the senior capstone and in the sub-field of Inequality and Social Change. My topical interdisciplinary courses served 3 majors (Sociology, Women & Gender Studies and Asian Studies), and those I taught recently focused on: Cities (field based course); Globalization (including the 13th century world before the rise of European hegemony); Inequality; Immigration; Genocide; Self & Society; Asians & America; Transnational Feminism; Gender & Nation (upper level seminar on postcolonial and transnational feminist theory).

I have also served as the Program & Resident Director at Royal Thimphu College in Fall 2011, in the program’s second year to develop a liberal arts education in Bhutan. Designing study-away programs over the Winter Session, I led field based studies in Vietnam (Winter 2003/4) and South Africa (Winter 2018/19). As a recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s institutional grant to advance the “Integrative Learning in the Humanities,” I co-designed and spearheaded a semester-away program in Fall 2019, in Miami, Florida, that focused on transnational cultural studies, interculturality and border crossings. This program was launched at a prominent art museum in Miami to promote Public Humanities and our courses were open to the museum staff and patrons.

Student Projects


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

Research Interests

Current Research

  • Marx’s Ecology and his theory of the Metabolic Rift
  • Buddhist Economics; Dhammic Agriculture; Buddhist Approaches to Sustainability
  • Dispositifs of Exile