Jaeeun Kim is the Korea Foundation Endowed Associate Professor of Sociology in the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. She is a professor of law through a courtesy appointment at the University of Michigan Law School.

Kim is a political sociologist and law and society scholar interested in questions of human mobility, inequality, power, and agency. She seeks to develop a relational, processual, and agentic account of categorization and identification, particularly in contexts in which such practices have significant implications for inequality at local, national, and global levels. Her research takes a transnational and global perspective, and systematically considers sending and transit contexts in studying international migration by adopting a multisited approach to research.

Her first monograph, Contested Embrace: Transborder Membership Politics in Twentieth-Century Korea (Stanford University Press, 2016; Chinese translation, 2023) is based on her dissertation, which won the 2013 Theda Skocpol Dissertation Award from the American Sociological Association (ASA). The book won the 2017 Thomas and Znaniecki Best Book Award from the ASA Section on International Migration, the 2017 Book Award on Asia/Transnational from the ASA Section on Asia and Asian America, and the 2017 Allan Sharlin Memorial Book Award from the Social Science History Association; it also was an honorable mention for the 2018 James B. Palais Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies.

Kim’s work is generously supported by the Social Science Research Council, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Academy of Korean Studies. She has been published in journals in sociological theory, law and society, race/ethnicity/migration, and historical sociology, and her recent article published in Sociological Theory, titled “Migration-Facilitating Capital: A Bourdieusian Theory of International Migration,” received the 2019 Theory Prize from the ASA Theory Section. 

She is currently working on her second book project, which focuses on the asylum-seeking of unauthorized migrants on religious grounds, based on her ongoing multisited ethnographic fieldwork.