David K. Kim, Ph.D.

Visiting Scholar, Annenberg School for Communication

David Kyuman Kim is a teacher, cultural critic, philosopher of religion, and scholar of race, religion and public life.

In 2003, Kim joined the faculty of Connecticut College where he is Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies. He has also taught at Harvard University, Union Theological Seminary, and Brown University. In 2009 Kim was named Inaugural Visiting Professor in the Humanities at Brown University’s Cogut Center for the Humanities. From 2005-2008, Kim was the Inaugural Director of Connecticut College’s Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity. Published widely on religion and public life, political theory, and the Asian American religious experience, Kim is author of Melancholic Freedom: Agency and the Spirit of Politics (Oxford, 2007), and co-editor of The Post-Secular in Question (New York University Press, 2012) and Race, Religion, and Late Democracy, a special issue of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (Sage, 2011).  

In 2007, Kim became Creative Consultant and Scholar-in-Residence for David Dorfman Dance and has been part of the creative team that produced disavowal (based on the life and legacy of abolitionist John Brown), Prophets of Funk (a movement study of race and religion set to the music of Sly and the Family Stone), and Come, and Back Again (a meditation on memory, family, and loss), and Aroundtown (a dance-hope poem on the fragility and precarity of community). 

In 2009, Kim became the Acting Program Director of the Programs in Religion and the Public Sphere at the Social Science Research Council, where he also served as Senior Advisor. From 2009-2015, Kim was Editor-at-Large of The Immanent Frame, the SSRC’s blog on secularism, religion, and public life. Amongst the features Kim created for The Immanent Frame were the discussion series “These things are old”, an essay forum on Obama, civic virtue, and the possibilities of an American common good, and “Rites and Responsibilities,” a long-form dialogue series on authority, accountability, sovereignty, and the public life of religion in an age of globalization. Participants in these series included Bill Ayers, Andrew Bacevich, Lawrie Balfour, Rom Coles, Jean Comaroff, Todd Gitlin, Jennifer Herdt, Sidney Jones, Martin Marty, David Morgan, Ann Pelligrini and Janet Jakobsen, Tariq Ramadan, Michael Sandel, Jeffrey Stout, Hent de Vries, and Cornel West. 

In 2016, Kim became host of the MeaningofLife.tv dialogue series Love-Driven Politics. Kim is co-convener of the Love-Driven Politics Collective, a group of scholars, artists, and social justice activists dedicated to responding to the political evil, acrimony, anger, and cynicism of our times by cultivating a common politics animated by compassion, generosity, and mercy. Published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Good Society, and Thrive Global, amongst other platforms, Kim’s current book project is The Public Life of Love, an exploration of the status of love in politics, public life, religion, and the arts. With the production company StudioToBe, Kim is developing HighWire, a show focused on tackling big moral questions in multiracial America. 

David Kyuman Kim is a Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies at Connecticut College and a Visiting Scholar at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

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  • Culture and Communication