Michael R. Jin is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research focuses on comparative and diasporic dimensions of human migration and racial formation in diverse social and temporal contexts. His work employs critical analyses of sources in multiple geographical locations and languages that push the spatial and conceptual boundaries of ethnic studies and area studies. His two main book projects focus on the unexpected convergences of multiple historical developments across nations, regions, and empires manifested in the historically grounded experiences of people in diasporas. His first book, Citizens, Immigrants, and the Stateless: A Japanese American Diaspora in the Pacific (Stanford University Press), examines the heavily understudied history of over 50,000 U.S.-born Japanese Americans who traversed multiple national and colonial borders in Asia-Pacific before, during, and after World War II. His second book project explores the twentieth-century transnational circuits of change across Iran, South Korea, and the United States that converged in the lives of Iranian transmigrants and their families who have lived and worked in those three countries since 1979.
His current research documents the experiences of Korean survivors of the nuclear holocaust in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 that illuminate the legacies of Japanese colonialism, shifting geopolitical dynamics of the Cold War U.S. nuclear umbrella, and the postcolonial politics of redress across the Pacific. For example, his recent article, “Voices of the Unredressed: Korean and Nisei A-Bomb Survivors, Structural Legacies of Violence, and Compensatory Justice in the Cold War Pacific,” in Amerasia Journal explores the historical erasures of Korean and U.S.-born Japanese American survivors of the 1945 atomic bombing.
Jin is a recipient of awards and fellowships from the University of California Pacific Rim Research Program, the Japan Foundation, the Texas Research Development Funding Program, the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), and the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) at UIC, among others. He was also a Visiting Scholar at Ritsumeikan University’s International Institute of Language and Culture Studies in Kyoto, Japan. In Japan, he worked closely with scholars from multiple disciplines in an active working group sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education to develop research and pedagogical frameworks that bridge the gap between ethnic studies and area studies.