Heidi Kim

Assistant Professor

Arts@theCore Curatorial Fellow with Carolina Performing Arts

My work ranges through nineteenth and twentieth-century American literature and Asian American studies. In my book project, Invisible Subjects: Asian Americans in Cold War Literature, I study texts by twentieth-century canonical American authors of different ethnicities through recent advances in Asian American studies and historiography. This critical lens allows me to interpret overlooked subtleties in the depiction of race in the American literary canon. Building on Ralph Ellison’s theories of invisibility in his famous novel Invisible Man, I show that Asian Americans demonstrate the fluidity and limitations of their available legal and social roles. I resituate several major authors (Ellison, Herman Melville, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck) amid the Asian American presence in their works and the dialogue of liberal individualism. I am also currently editing a memoir and correspondence of a Japanese American family from Hawai'i incarcerated during World War II and have published essays on other aspects of the incarceration. Past projects have included work on Walt Whitman published in the Walt Whitman Quarterly Journal, and criticism and translation of a transnational antislavery Louisiana Francophone novel from the nineteenth century, published in PMLA.

My teaching focuses on twentieth and twenty-first century American and comparative ethnic literature, though I also teach some contemporary British literature. I am always looking for ways to bring my students’ work into conversation with the campus and public. Some of my classes have digitized their work: see Studying Poston and The Chang and Eng Bunker Project.

(Photo: No. 7 Eccles Street, Leopold Bloom’s house in Ulysses. The door is preserved at the James Joyce Centre in Dublin.)

Teaching Awards

J. Carlyle Sitterson Freshman Teaching Award, 2014


Hire Date: 2010

Ph.D. and M.A. in English, Northwestern University
A.B. in Biochemical Sciences, Harvard University


Greenlaw 444
(919) 962-4042

Research Groups and Interests

Group VII - American Literature from 1900 to the Present