E. Tammy Kim is a contributing writer at The New Yorker who covers labor and the workplace, arts and culture, and the Koreas. She is also a co-host of the weekly podcast Time to Say Goodbye, a contributing editor at Lux magazine, a 2022 Alicia Patterson fellow, and a fellow at Type Media Center. She co-edited Punk Ethnography (Wesleyan University Press, 2016), a book about the politics of contemporary world music.
Kim previously worked as a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times and a staff writer at Al Jazeera America, where she won the Martha Coman Front Page Award for Best New Journalist from the Newswomen’s Club of New York. She has been active in the labor movement, and is a member of the Freelance Solidarity Project of the National Writers Union. Her first career was as a lawyer for low-wage workers and families facing medical debt in New York. She was raised by Korean immigrants in Tacoma, Washington.
She is the 2022-23 Writer-in-Residence at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.
Where do you come from when you’re born on a US military base abroad? And what if that base is in your parents’ native land?
By historical chance, my parents’ home country was occupied by the US military; by immigrant circumstance, Mom and Dad came separately to the US and chose to enlist in that very military. It was the US Army that caused my parents to meet and caused them to return home, stationed on what was then the largest American installation in South Korea. That’s where I was born and where my younger brother was born, too.
For most of my life, I preferred not to dwell on these facts. I saw my parents’ military connection as unsavory and strange for a family like ours. Only recently did I learn how military ties opened the way to Asian immigration or consider the paradoxical role Asian Americans have played in the US wars in Asia.
I have spent the last few years reporting on and around US bases in South Korea. How has this Cold War arrangement continued to shape people’s lives in both countries? As the 2022–23 Writer-in-Residence at the A/P/A Institute at NYU, I will develop a personal project on the US–South Korea military relationship. My research combines reporting, family history, and images to explore notions of complicity, and ambiguity, in empire.
E. Tammy Kim, Writer-in-Residence
Message from A/P/A
E. Tammy Kim is an impressive and impactful journalist, podcaster, and lawyer. She shares with us a deep and abiding interest in the diverse lives of Asian/Pacific Americans, as well as the histories and social conditions that shape our communities. As we focus this year on the theme of “Recovery and Repair,” Kim’s thoughtful and judicious reportage on a wide range of topics across several media platforms will provide us insight on how to address the many social and political challenges that Asian/Pacific Americans face today. We feel fortunate to have Kim guide us with her professional knowledge and personal reflections on matters such as immigration, militarism, popular culture, and labor organizing. We are excited to welcome E. Tammy Kim to the A/P/A Institute at NYU as the 2022-23 Writer-in-Residence.
Crystal Parikh, Director
America’s Forever Wars in Asia
Thursday, October 13, 4:30-6:00 p.m. E.T.
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Time to Say Goodbye LIVE + Stay True
Thursday, December 1, 7:00-9:00 p.m. E.T.
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