PhD'18 (international history) University of Chicago


Research Interests

Economic modernization, liberal internationalism, and social change in postwar Japan; United States–East Asia relations; war memories, nationalism, human rights, and civil society in China, Japan, and Korea; the politics of nuclear environmentalism, nonproliferation, and energy competition in the context of postcolonial economic liberalism


Moral Realism of the Postwar Japanese Intellectuals


Taeju Kim completed his PhD in the summer of 2018 with a specialization in East Asian international history and political economy. His dissertation, “Moral Realism of the Postwar Japanese Intellectuals,” explores how Japanese social scientists conceptualized individualism and human rights within the context of postcolonial liberal internationalism, national security, and economic development. Using archival sources, popular journal articles, and political economic data, he demonstrates how postwar globalization led to both conflict and a new normative understanding between Japan and the United States. Taeju's research has received funding support from the Social Science Research Council, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Association for Asian Studies, the Toyota Foundation, and the University of Chicago’s Division of the Social Sciences and Center for East Asian Studies.

Taeju has taught classes on Japanese politics for the Department of Political Science and the course “Cold War Modern: US-Japan Relations” as a Von Holst Prize Lecturer in the Department of History. He has served as a preceptor and instructor for graduate students in the University of Chicago's Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences as well as for undergraduates in the College's Public Policy Studies Program. Taeju's teaching experience covers a number of topics, including East Asian civilization, United States–East Asia relations, human rights (refugees, human trafficking, infectious diseases, drug use, public health, etc.), war memories, nationalism, racial and gender politics, and the history of economic liberalism in postcolonial East Asia.


—Historians Garner Teaching Prizes