Lili M. Kim

Professor of History and Global Migrations
Lili M. Kim
Contact Lili M.

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Lili M. Kim
Franklin Patterson Hall 204

On sabbatical spring 2024.

Lili M. Kim is a scholar of U.S. history from a global and transnational perspective, who specializes in (im)migration, critical race and ethnicity, gender, imperialism, empire, feminism, Korean-American history, and Asian-American studies.

Her first book manuscript, Unlikely Enemy: Korean Americans, World War II, and the Transnational Struggle for Justice on the Homefront, investigates how Korean Americans negotiated the racial terrains of the homefront that witnessed mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. She is currently at work on her second book, In Transit: Migration, Globalization, and Koreans in Argentina and the United States, which traces the history of Korean migration to Argentina beginning in 1965, and their remigration to the United States.

Her work has been supported by the NEH stipend, Fulbright grant, and Whiting Foundation Fellowship, among others. Professor Kim teaches a wide range of interdisciplinary courses that focus on the historical experiences of marginalized people. Her courses include: “From Sugar Plantation Laborers to ‘Gangnam Style’: Transnational History of Koreans in the Americas,” “Narratives of (Im)migration,” “U.S. Imperialism and Hawai‘i,” “Division II and III Seminars,” “Black and Yellow Encounters: Race, Labor, Immigration, and the Emergence of the Third World Left.”

The titles of recent Division III projects Professor Kim supervised as an advisor or a committee member include:

  • Picture Her Story: An Arts-Based Participatory Project and Practice-Based Multimedia Research Thesis on Sexual Violence against Women and Girls
  • An Army of Incompetents: Exploring the Servant Problem in New England, 1860-1915
  • De La Nieta de Una Granjera: Rethinking the Bracero Program
  • Stop Deportations!: Reimagining Black and Immigrant Liberation Through the Reclamation of the Criminal Alien Community
  • Developing a Multimedia Black History/Futures Curriculum
  • Children of Poverty and Vice: The Child Welfare System as Counter Revolutionary Strategy
  • K-Pop and Soft Power in South Korea

Prior to coming to Hampshire College, Professor Kim was at the Institute of American Cultures Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles. Kim has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the University at Buffalo. She is currently an invited professor of history at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea, where she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar during 2017-2018.

Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • This course examines the transnational history of Koreans in the United States and beyond in the context of larger global labor migrations. The topics we will consider include racialization of Korean immigrants against the backdrop of Anti-Asian movement in California, Japanese colonization of Korea and its impact on the development of Korean American nationalism, changing dynamics of gender and family relations in Korean American communities, the Korean War and the legacies of U.S. militarism in Korea, the post-1965 "new" wave of Korean immigrants, Asian American movement, Sa-I-Gu (the 1992 Los Angeles Koreatown racial unrest), the myth of model minority, and the birth of "Korean cool" through K-pop. The focus will be on the transnational linkages between Korea and the United States and the connections between U.S. foreign policies and domestic issues that influenced the lives and experiences of Korean Americans. Paying particular attention to personal narratives through Korean American autobiographical and biographical writing, art, novels, and films, we will examine issues of historical imagination, empathy, and agency. KEYWORDS:Race, migration, gender, Korean Americans

  • Even though Hawai'i is often referred to as the "Paradise on Earth," the history of Hawai'i is rife with the history and legacies of imperial ambitions of the United States. This course examines the history of U.S. occupation of Hawai'i as a case study of U.S. imperialism. We will examine the history of the rise and fall of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, the establishment of Hawai'i as a U.S. territory, and finally the current status of Hawai'i as the 50th state in the United States. Topics of discussion include the role of missionaries in introducing capitalist economy in Hawai'i, Native Hawaiian resistance to American annexation, indigenous land struggles as a result of urbanization and U.S. military expansion after annexation, Asian settlers in Hawai'i, revitalization of Hawaiian language, and contemporary Native Hawaiian sovereignty movements for self-determination. Through a variety of primary sources (court cases, diaries, memoirs, letters) and secondary sources (scholarly books, articles, documentaries, films), we will critically examine global geopolitics and economic interests that fueled U.S. imperialism in Hawai'i as well as seek to understand Native Hawaiians' self-determination and the issue of stolen lands in reclaiming Hawaiian sovereignty. Students interested in applying for the January term field course to Hawai'i are strongly encouraged to take this course. KEYWORDS:colonialism, empire, Native Hawaiian, indigenous, sovereignty, imperialism

  • In a now-classic essay, "Immigrant Women: Nowhere at Home?" migration historian Donna Gabaccia lamented that (im)migration history had not found a comfortable scholarly disciplinary home and called for more studies on "the lives of immigrant women." This course takes up that challenge and more by examining gendered historical experiences of Asian migrants and Americans. We will employ gender and sexuality as categories of analysis, along with race, ethnicity, and class, to understand the gendered historical experiences of Asian migrants and their descendants. Focusing on the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States, the course will explore how circulations of bodies, families, capital, and goods transformed gender systems in the Americas. Framing migration as a gendered process, we will also examine shifting and fluid gendered expressions of labor, nationalism, and mobility, as well as construction of borders and immigration laws that had both exclusionary and inclusionary power in shaping Asian American history. Keywords:Gender,Sexuality,Migration,Asian American,Race

  • In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic that laid bare the inequalities of our society and the public execution of George Floyd and other Black Americans, as well as the pandemic anti-Asian American violence, meaningful social and political alliances between communities of color have never been so critically important. This course examines the history of feminists of color solidarities and activisms in their shared fight against racism, sexism, capitalism, and imperialism. The emergence of the U.S. Third World Feminist Left during the 1960s and 1970s saw ending imperialism and colonialism as a necessary part of their fight, and the feminists of color drew inspiration from Third World feminism and decolonization activities. The images of revolutionary Third World women engaged in anti-colonial struggles in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, especially during the Vietnam War era, inspired U.S.-based feminists of color and helped them embrace leftist Third World solidarity politics. Organizations such as the Third World Women's Alliance (TWWA) in New York city, which grew out of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), brought together Black, Puerto Rican, and Asian American women in the socialist fight to end imperialism, sexism, capitalism, and racism. Utilizing the rich archival sources found in the Sophia Smith Collection (TWWA records, Miriam Ching Yoon Louie papers, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum papers) as well as the Triple Jeopardy newspapers found in the Marshall I. Bloom papers at the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, students will have an opportunity to work to produce a substantial research project. Keywords:history,Woman of color,Feminism,Race,social movements

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