Dr Jieun Kim

Dr Jieun Kim


I am a socio-cultural anthropologist focusing on the study of social marginalisation in the context of contemporary Japan and South Korea. My research examines the daily power dynamics that define certain groups as “others” or lesser members and outcasts of society. I am particularly interested in the ways in which social inequalities are naturalised and contested based on perceptions of social and bodily differences.

In Leeds, I have co-hosted the Speculative Lunch, Body Parts and Fluids: Rethinking the Human Body in Bioeconomy. The event led to the launching of the university-wide BioBody Research Network, which brings together researchers working on the question of the human body in biomedicine and biotechnology from diverse disciplinary and regional perspectives. In 2019/20, I am co-organising the Sadler Seminar Series, Vital Circulations to further explore how social boundaries and hierarchies are reconfigured through the biomedical usage of human bodily fluids. These activities will feed into my twelve-months’ Wellcome Trust funded project, Hematopolitics: A Comparative Study of Reciprocity and Exclusion in the Blood Economy, starting in June 2020.


  • Final Year Project Coordinator for East Asian Studies
  • LCS Personal Tutor

Research interests

I am currently working on a monograph on a former day labourers’ district (yoseba) in Yokohama. Building on nineteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, the manuscript traces how local activists, the homeless, and residents struggled to turn the district into a vanguard of the ‘right to survival’ over the last three decades.

In addition to the book project, I am also developing a project on the symbolism of blood in blood donation in Japan and South Korea. This project examines how blood donation reconfigures social boundaries and identities in these two countries with a strong belief in mono-ethnic nationhood. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Anthropology, University of Michigan
  • MA in Anthropology, University of Michigan
  • MA in Anthropology, Seoul National University
  • BA in Anthropology, Seoul National University

Research groups and institutes

  • Asia Pacific Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • Japanese
  • Politics

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>