Nan Kim

  • Associate Professor, History
  • Public History Co-Director, History
  • Affiliated Professor, Anthropology


  • PhD, University of California, Berkeley, Sociocultural Anthropology
  • MA, University of California, Berkeley, Sociocultural Anthropology
  • AB, Princeton University, English Language & Literature

Office Hours

On sabbatical leave, AY 2023-2024

Courses Taught

  • HIST 840 History and Anthropology
  • HIST 712 Historiography and Theory of History
  • HIST 700 Introduction to Public History
  • HIST 399 Honors Seminar: The History of Emotions
  • HIST 372 Topics in Global History: Water and Environment in the Nuclear Age*
  • HIST 372 Topics in Global History: The Korean War
  • HIST 176 East Asian Civiliization Since 1600
  • HIST 141 History of the Family, Gender, and Sexuality
  • HIST 132 World History from 1500
  • DAC 788  Practicum in Digital Cultures
  • DAC 700 Core Seminar in Digital Cultures

*Course development supported by the Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) for International Studies

Teaching Interests

  • Korea in Global History
  • Dissent, Social Movements
  • Historical Trauma and Emotions in History 
  • Nuclear History and Environmental Anthropology
  • Science and Technology Studies (STS)
  • Digital Humanities
  • Research-informed Writing for Broad Audiences 
  • Public History, Public Anthropology, Oral History, & Museums

Research Interests

  • Dissent, Social Movements
  • Historical Trauma & Memory Activism
  • Korea in Global History
  • Environmental History, Critical Nuclear Studies
  • Ecofeminism & Anthropology of the Seas
  • Science and Technology Studies (STS)
  • DH and Social-Justice Advocacy
  • Interpreting Historical Controversies for Broad Audiences & Media Analysis of Disinformation 
  • Public History, Public Anthropology, Oral History
  • Memorial Museums

Related Activities

  • Regional Editor for Korea, Editorial Board Member, Critical Asian Studies
  • Affiliated Professor, Department of Anthropology, Honors College, and Women’s & Gender Studies
  • Advisory Council Member, Center for 21st Century Studies
  • Advisory Board Member, Graduate Certificates in Museum Studies and in Digital Cultures

Biographical Sketch

Nan Kim is Associate Professor of History and Affiliated Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she serves as Co-Director of Public History. Her research concerns public memory, historical trauma, legacies of war, Korea in global history, peace and environmental activism, visual culture, science and technology studies, oceans, and political-economic controversies over nuclear technology and radiation exposure.

As an interdisciplinary scholar and a former journalist, she has been committed to writing that is accessible to broad audiences about timely issues of public concern. She recently took part in the collaborative STS initiative, “Environmental Injustice: Building a Global Record,” organized by the EcoGovLab at the University of California-Irvine. Among her many publications are chapters in the Routledge Handbook of Trauma in East Asia (2023) and in Forces of Nature: New Perspectives on Korean Environments (Cornell University Press, 2023) and articles in The Journal of Asian Studies and Verge: Studies in Global Asias.

Formally trained as a cultural and political anthropologist, she currently serves on the executive board of the Society for East Asian Anthropology and on the editorial board for Critical Asian Studies, formerly the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars. She is the author of Memory, Reconciliation, and Reunions in South Korea: Crossing the Divide (Lexington Books, 2017), which narrates a contemporary history of Korea’s ongoing national division by focusing on the families who have been separated, since the mid-20th century, by the divide between North and South. The book was awarded the 2019 Scott Bills Memorial Prize by the Peace History Society, an affiliate of the American Historical Association.

As Co-Director of Public History at UW-Milwaukee, she has consulted on projects for museums, historical societies, and communities in Milwaukee and the region. She is also on the core faculty of the university’s Museum Studies graduate program and helped to establish the Graduate Certificate on Digital Cultures.

Selected Publications

“Sacrifice in the Shadow of Nuclear-Energy Infrastructure at Wolseong,” in Crystal Baik, Ju Hui Judy Han, Jinah Kim, and Young-Gyung Paik, eds., Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Korea (Durham: Duke University Press, forthcoming).
“A Precedent of Success: Pacific Islanders’ Transnational Activism against the Ocean Dumping of Radioactive Waste.” In Environmental Injustice: Building a Global Record, curated by Misria Sheik Ali, Kim Fortun, Phillip Baum, and Prerna Srigyan. 4S Paraconference, Annual Meeting of the Society of Social Studies of Science. Honolulu, Hawai’i, November 8-11, 2023.
“South Korea’s Nuclear-Energy Entanglements and the Timescales of Ecological Democracy” in David Fedman, Eleana Kim, and Albert L. Park, eds., Forces of Nature: New Perspectives on Korean Environments (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2023), 164-177. 
“Commemorative Witness: ‘Gwangju in 1980’ and Unresolved Transitional Justice in 21st Century South Korea,” in Jeff Kingston and Tina Burrett, eds., Routledge Handbook of Trauma in East Asia (London: Routledge, 2023). 
“Contemporary History and the Contingency of the Present,” Verge: Studies in Global Asias 5, no. 1 (Spring 2019): 108-113. 
“The Color of Dissent and a Vital Politics of Fragility in South Korea,” The Journal of Asian Studies 77, no. 4 (2018): 971-990. 
Memory, Reconciliation, and Reunions in South Korea: Crossing the Divide. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2017. Winner of the Peace History Society’s 2019 Scott Bills Memorial Prize. 
Candlelight and the Yellow Ribbon: Catalyzing Re-Democratization in South Korea,” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus 15:14, no. 5 (2017). 
"Korea on the Brink: Reading the Yŏnp’yŏng Shelling and its Aftermath" The Journal of Asian Studies 70, no. 2 (2011).