De/Militarized Ecologies: Making Peace with Nature Along the Korean DMZ

When and Where

Friday, February 16, 2024 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
North House
1 Devonshire Place


Eleana Kim, Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies, University of California, Irvine
Jesook Sung, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto


This talk traces the entwined histories of military violence and postcolonial modernization in East Asia and their effects on local and global ecologies. In analyzing avian migratory flyways and other multispecies relations, Kim unpacks the material, political, and ecological entanglements of the Korean DMZ within processes of militarized liberal capitalism. Her framework of "biological peace” offers a critical vantage point for conceptualizing peace beyond human politics, in the context of climate crisis, perpetual war, and ongoing militarization of the planet.
Eleana J. Kim is a sociocultural anthropologist and Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies at University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Making Peace with Nature: Ecological Encounters Along the Korean DMZ (Duke UP, 2022) and Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging (Duke UP, 2010), which was awarded the James B. Palais Prize from the Association of Asian Studies and the Social Sciences Book Award from the Association of Asian American Studies. She also co-edited, with David Fedman and Albert Park, Forces of Nature: New Perspectives on Korean Environments (Cornell UP, 2023). She is the current President of the Society for Cultural Anthropology and serves on the editorial boards of Anthropological Quarterly, Journal of Korean Studies, and Critical Asian Studies.
(Chair) Jesook Song is a Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology with a certificate in Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA. Mediating Gender, her co-edited volume with Michelle Cho, is scheduled to come out in the University of Michigan Press in early 2024.

Sponsor: Centre for the Study of Korea, Asian Institute
Co-Sponsors: Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies; Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, St George; Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Scarborough; University of Toronto Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies; University of Toronto School of Environment

Contact Information