Eleana Kim is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. She received both her M.A. (with a Certificate in Culture and Media) and Ph.D. from New York University. In 2006, she was a Korea Foundation Postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Department of Asian Languages and Literatures. Before joining the UCI Anthropology faculty, she was an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Rochester (2007-2014), and editor of the Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures (2013-2014). She currently serve on the board of the Society for Cultural Anthropology and the Society of East Asian Anthropology. 

Her first book, Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging (Duke UP, 2010), empirically examined transnational, transracial adoption from South Korea and pursued theoretical questions connected to kinship and belonging in their contemporary elaborations and entanglements with global capitalism, state power, and transnational processes.

Her second major project, “Making Peace With Nature: The Greening of the Korean Demilitarized Zone” approaches the nature/culture problematic via environmental anthropology and political ecology and also contributes to social studies of science and animal/posthuman studies.

A future project examines the transnational circulations and production of ginseng, one variety of which has been historically cultivated in Korea, and is being actively promoted for a global market. This project examines how conceptions of Korean terroir, human-nature relations, and techniques of cultivation define Korean ginseng’s chemical efficacies and branded qualities, which are also related to broader cultural values embodied in South Korean experiences of hypercapitalism.


Creative Commons Licence

Contributed date

February 5, 2020 - 3:02am

Critical Commentary

Dr. Eleana Kim, UCI Anthropology, will servie as the discussant for AiT's Panel titled "Political Ecologies"