Associate Professor of Cultural Psychology
Kim's teaching and writing sits at the intersections of anthropology and psychology, culture and self, with a focus on "Chinese" and "American" identities and communities across the Pacific. Her courses combine critical ethnography with creative writing to explore questions of identity, belonging, and citizenship for those whose lives span national borders and cultural worlds. Her current work takes creative non/fiction as the quintessential hybrid literary form for writing about migration and diaspora. Her recent book, Accomplice to Memory (Kaya Press, 2017), mixes memoir, fiction, and documentary photographs to explore the limits and possibilities of truth telling across generations and geographies.
Kim is a participating faculty member in Hampshire's China Exchange Program and the Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program. She has lived and worked extensively in Hong Kong and China, and is an Honorary Professor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.
How should we write the past from the standpoint of the next generation? What do we do with familial stories we've been told alongside intergenerational silences, half truths, and outright lies? What's the role of public histories and cultural mythologies in the way we remember and retell our personal past? What methods and forms do we need to approach a fragmented past that's often hiding from us, whether due to erasures of war, colonization, migration, or assimilation? What should we do with our own desire and nostalgia for the past, and how do we reclaim history without appropriating it? In this course, we will engage with memory work as a critical and creative methodology for making meaning of our personal and collective pasts. We will explore hybrid methods and forms of memory work, including the writings of Edwidge Danticat, Saidiya Hartman, Ruth Ozeki, Paisley Rekdal, Art Speigelman, and Dao Strom.
In this course, we will explore the relationship between methods of critical social inquiry and creative forms of writing and representation. While discipline has traditionally bound method to form in the social sciences, we ask: what forms are necessary for conveying what kinds of truths? We will consider the possibilities and limits of our research tools-the archive, the interview, ethnography-while working the borders of creative non/fiction for the kinds of knowledge to which different forms give us access. We will read examples of hybrid literary forms including literary journalism, ethnographic fiction, docu-poetry, documentary theatre, lyric essay, and experimental memoir. Students will consider questions of craft as they research, imagine, and workshop pieces of their own writing and explore their choices as researchers and writers in search of form.
The critic David Lodge describes defamiliarization as "Overcoming the deadening effects of habit by representing familiar things in unfamiliar ways." Our focus will be on re-perceiving the East, asking what it is, how we see it, how we don't see it, how we could see it, all in the hopes of more closely, critically, and compassionately developing different habits about where and how to look. Not deadening habits: living habits. Course requirements will include reading international fiction and non-fiction; in-class presentations; critical response papers; creative writing; and keeping a regular "sensory journal" in which individual, cultural, and/or universal habits are re-examined (e.g., on dress, foods, music, war.) and periodically shared with the class. Bringing supplementary materials to the class (e.g., an article that made you rethink a comfortable position on the 'other') is strongly encouraged. Note: Students MUST attend the first day of class in order to keep their seat.