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 co-organised 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 fed into the White Rose Collaboration Project, “Vital Circulations: A framework for understanding social dynamics in and beyond a pandemic” (June 2021–November 2022) and the Wellcome Trust project, Hematopolitics: A Comparative Study of Reciprocity and Exclusion in the Blood Economy (June 2021–August 2022).

Research interests

My first project drew on nineteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in a former day labourers’ district (yoseba) in Yokohama to trace 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. 

My second project, funded by the Wellcome Trust (2021-23) and the AHRC (2023-25), explores the politics and symbolism of blood in blood donation in Japan and South Korea. This project employs ethnographic, archival and social media research methods to examine 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>