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Eleana J. Kim


PhD, Anthropology, New York University, 2007

MA, Anthropology and Program in Culture and Media, New York University, 2001

BA, English Literature, Brown University, 1994

Research Interests

Eleana Kim is associate professor of anthropology and core faculty in the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies. Her interests center around questions of nature and culture and the biological and the social in the production of personhood, social relations, and moral values. Her first project focused on transnational, transracial adoption from South Korea, and was based on eight years of ethnographic research among adult adoptees who had been adopted from South Korea between the 1950s and 1980s. The resultant book, Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging (Duke University Press, 2010), chronicles the emergence of a global network of adult adoptees and their relationship to the South Korean state which began to recognize them valuable members of the Korean diaspora at the turn of the millennium. It pursues theoretical questions connected to kinship and belonging and their contemporary elaborations and entanglements with global capitalism, state power, and transnational processes. In 2012, the book received the James B. Palais prize from the Association of Asian Studies and the Social Science Book Award from the Association of Asian American Studies.

Her second book project, Making Peace with Nature: The Greening of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, supported by an ACLS/SSRC/NEH International Area Studies fellowship (2011-12),  analyzes the transformation of the most heavily militarized border in the world into a space internationally recognized as a haven for biodiversity. This project engages with political ecology and STS approaches by theorizing temporality and hope in the production of ecological knowledge, and seeks to connect these processes with other global assemblages related to climate change and planetary futures.

Eleana Kim DMZ Research

Professor Kim received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from NYU in 2006. Following a Korea Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA, she joined the faculty at the University of Rochester in 2007. She is a recipient of the University of Rochester's G. Graydon Curtis and Jane W. Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Non-tenured Member of the Faculty (2011) and was Wilmot Assistant Professor of the Social Sciences from 2011 to 2013. Her research has been funded by the Fulbright Commission, the Social Science Research Council, the American Council for Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Professor Kim teaches courses on anthropological theory, media anthropology, ethnographic film, and environmental anthropology.

More information can be found on Eleana's UR Research page.

Fellowships, Honors & Awards

Courses Offered (subject to change)

Current Courses

Past Courses Taught

Selected Publications


Peer-Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

Academic Blog Posts