The Department of Gender and Women’s Studies is pleased to announce that Ava L.J. Kim is our 2022-2023 Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Associate in Trans Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Currently a PhD Candidate completing her dissertation in English at the University of Pennsylvania, she will begin an appointment as Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of California, Davis, in July 2023. She received a BA in Creative Writing at Macalester College and currently serves as the Graduate Director of the Mellon Mays Fellowship program at Bryn Mawr College. Her work can be found in the journal, American Studies, and exhibition catalogue, About Face: Stonewall, Revolt, and New Queer Art. She is a co-founder and co-coordinator of the Trans Literacy Project.
Ava Kim’s dissertation, “Trans / Nation: Gender and Democracy in an Age of Transition” analyzes two seemingly disparate uses of “transition”: first, to describe a person’s shift from one gender to another, and second, to narrate a nation’s political change through key terms like “democratization” and “development.” Taking case studies from Argentina, Chile, the Philippines, and Vietnam, “Trans / Nation” argues that these invocations of transition from a unified history of state management from the 1970s to the present, masking neoliberal violence and promoting one “proper” path to prosperity for both individuals and nations.