Jina B. Kim

Assistant Professor of English Language & Literature and of the Study of Women & Gender

Photo of Jina Kim

Contact & Office Hours

Wright Hall 231



Jina B. Kim received her doctorate in English and women’s studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her bachelor's in studio art and English from Agnes Scott College. She specializes in feminist disability studies, women-of-color feminisms/queer-of-color critique and contemporary ethnic U.S. literatures with an emphasis on feminist-of-color writing and cultural expression post-1968. Prior to joining Smith College, she was a Consortium for Faculty Diversity postdoctoral fellow at Mount Holyoke College in the program in critical social thought.

She is currently at work on a manuscript, tentatively titled Anatomy of the City: Race, Disability, and U.S. Fictions of Dependency, which examines how multiethnic U.S. literatures situated in post-Reagan cities recuperate the maligned condition of public dependency. Drawing together feminist-of-color, feminist disability, ethnic literary and urban sociological studies, it positions dependency as an underexplored yet vital analytic for ethnic American cultural critique, as well as a potential line of affinity between disability politics and women-of-color feminisms. Attending to city infrastructure as thematic, formal and analytic concern, it argues that writers, artists and activists like Karen Tei Yamashita, Helena María Viramontes, Jesmyn Ward, Audre Lorde and Grace Lee Boggs salvage dependency by highlighting public support systems: healthcare, transportation, 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. 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.

Kim has published on the topics of disability studies and ethnic U.S. literatures, furthering a critical framework she terms crip-of-color critique. In 2012, she received the Irving K. Zola Award for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies from the Society for Disability Studies.