Recent Commons Activity


I am currently a Consortium for Faculty Diversity postdoctoral fellow in the program in Critical Social Thought at Mount Holyoke College. In Fall 2018, I will be Assistant Professor of English and SWG (Study of Women and Gender) at Smith College. I received my PhD in English and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the summer of 2016, and my BA in Studio Art and English from Agnes Scott College in 2007. My research lies at the intersection of critical disability studies, contemporary multi-ethnic US literature, and women of color feminisms.

I am at work on a manuscript titled Anatomy of the City: Race, Infrastructure, and US Fictions of Dependency, which examines how multi-ethnic U.S. literatures situated in post-Reagan cities recuperate the maligned condition of public dependency. Drawing together ethnic literary, feminist disability, women of color feminist, and urban sociological studies, it re-conceptualizes the pathologized cityscape disabled by anti-welfare policy, and positions dependency as an underexplored yet vital analytic for ethnic American cultural critique. Attending to infrastructure as thematic, formal, and analytic concern, I argue that writers, artists, and activists like Karen Tei Yamashita, Helena María Viramontes, Toni Cade Bambara, Anna Deavere Smith, and Grace Lee Boggs salvage dependency by highlighting public support systems: healthcare, transportation, education, sanitation, and food welfare. In doing so, they emphasize our contingency on human and material infrastructures alike—the often-obscured pipes, wires, roads, and labor networks that regulate metropolitan life. Through their engagement with infrastructural support, the texts in my study register, contest, or overwrite dominant rhetorics of dependency, which selectively equate racialized and gendered deviance with state parasitism (i.e. the “illegal” migrant, the welfare queen). City infrastructure, in the literary-cultural afterlife of 1996 U.S. welfare reform, operates as a figure of condensation for a counter-discourse of dependency—one that documents the disabling violence of state divestment while foregrounding a public ethics of care.

My work has appeared in Disability Studies Quarterly, the anthology Disability Studies and the Environmental Humanities, and Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association. In 2012, I received the Irving K. Zola Award for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies.


M.A. and Ph.D in English and Women’s Studies | University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

B.A. in English and Studio Art | Agnes Scott College

Blog Posts

    Jina Kim

    Profile picture of Jina Kim


    Active 6 years, 6 months ago