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Diana Kim






  Harvard University
  1730 Cambridge Street
  Cambridge MA, 02138


Diana Kim’s research intersects comparative politics, political economies of crime and disorder, as well as histories of European empire in East and Southeast Asia. Specifically, she studies the politics of vice, asking how and when states come to define and punish putatively immoral, wicked, and dangerous activities.

Her first book project, entitled Empires of Vice, is a comparative study of the rise of opium Prohibition across Southeast Asia since the late 19th century. Diana focuses on the experiences of the British and French across multiple sites in Burma, Malaya, and Indochina to understand the divergent courses that imperial powers took to ban opium’s commercial life and reconfigure political economies of vice. Theoretically, she explains how Prohibition encompassed transformations to the fiscal foundations of colonial government and justifications for imperial rule, with lasting influences upon present-day Southeast Asian politics and economies. Diana’s second project will explore the problem of "dirty" professions amongst untouchable groups in colonial Bengal, Korea, and imperial Japan.

Diana received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 2013. She has worked as a consultant for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and her scholarship has received recognition from the American Bar Foundation, Social Science History Association, and Council of American Overseas Research Centers.

Her personal website is at www.dianasuekim.com.
Principal Publications

"The Story of the Tattooed Lady: Scandal and the Colonial State in British Burma," Law and Social Inquiry 37:4 (Fall 2012), 969-990.

"Standoffish States: Nonliterate Leviathans in Southeast Asia," (with Dan Slater) Trans-Regional and National Studies of Southeast Asia 3:1 (January 2015), 25-44.