Nan Kim

  • Associate Professor, History
  • Public History 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 Water
  • 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 Co-Director of Public History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she holds a courtesy appointment in Anthropology. Her interdisciplinary research is inspired by contemporary politically charged phenomena, including transnational social-justice movements and contestations over historical trauma and public memory. Her book, Memory, Reconciliation, and Reunions in South Korea: Crossing the Divide (Lexington Books, 2017), was awarded the 2019 Scott Bills Memorial Prize by the Peace History Society, an affiliate of the American Historical Association.

Among her recent publications is the chapter, "South Korea's Nuclear-Energy Entanglements and the Timescales of Ecological Democracy," which appears in the edited volume Forces of Nature: New Perspectives on Korean Environments (Cornell University Press, 2023). Formally trained as a political and cultural anthropologist, Nan Kim was recently elected as Councilor (2024-2027) to join the executive board of the Society for East Asian Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association.

With professional work experience as a journalist and developmental editor, she remains committed to scholarly writing that is accessible to broad audiences about timely issues of public concern. She serves on the editorial board of Critical Asian Studies, formerly the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars. As Public History director at UW-Milwaukee, she has consulted on projects for museums, historical societies, and communities in the region. She also teaches in the Museum Studies program as a core faculty member and is a founding member of the Joint Collaboratory on Digital Cultures, which organized a new interdisciplinary graduate certificate in Digital Cultures.

Nan Kim holds a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley and an AB in English Language and Literature from Princeton University, where her thesis - which combined critical and creative-nonfiction writing - won the English Department's Edwin H. Tumin Award, the senior-thesis writing prize.

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).
“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).