Youngrim Kim

University of Michigan | Communication & Media | STS | Digital Studies


I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the Department of Communication and Media, Digital Studies Institute, and the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Program. I am also the 2021-2022 recipient of the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship.

My research broadly centers around understanding the evolving relations between information technology and culture in postcolonial East Asia. Bringing perspectives from science and technology studies, digital studies, and postcolonial studies, I examine the social implications of digital platforms and data systems as they emerge from, and collide with, existing institutions, infrastructures, and cultural practices.

My dissertation, “Databasing Latent Bodies: Disease Surveillance, Data Publics, and Coded Injustice in South Korea” examines how digital media technologies are changing the ways global health crises are understood and governed in postcolonial East Asia. Through a critical cultural analysis of two recent outbreaks that occurred in South Korea - the 2015 epidemic of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic - I investigate the changing rationalities and methods of integrating digital technologies in outbreak response. Throughout the research, I argue that these knowledge systems constantly articulate, trouble, and negotiate the meanings of “transparency” and “care,” which are critical to building a sense of community during such moments of uncertainties. My dissertation demonstrates how these "ideoscapes" are strategically deployed in the design and implementation of these digital tools, and together cultivate a unique form of pandemic technogovernance in South Korea.

Before coming to the University of Michigan, I received B.A. in Media Studies from UC Berkeley and M.A. in Communication Studies from Seoul National University.

  • Fields of Interest

    • Critical Data Studies

    • Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

    • Global Technoculture

    • Disaster Studies

You can reach me at youngrim [at] umich [dot] edu