Soyeun KIM




I received a PhD in Geography at King's College London (2006 - the thesis titledThe "greening" of aid: the political ecology of Japan's bilateral international cooperation with the Philippines) with a British government scholarship (the Overseas Research Studentship).After the PhD, I worked as a Corporate Social Responsibility analyst at Ethical Investment Research Services (now, Vigeo Eiris), a leading UK-based ethical investment research organisation (2007-2009) and as a sessional lecturer in the Department of Development Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London (2007-2010). I then joined the Department of East Asian Studies at Leeds University, UK as an assistant professor with tenure (permanent position, 2009- August 2014) until my move to the current position at Sogang University in September 2014.

My research interests are broadly in political ecology and political economy of development and environmentalism - with a particular geographical focus on East and Southeast Asia. Drawing on theoretical approaches from critical development geography, critical development studies and political ecology, my current research focuses on development and environmentalism in Asia, and foreign aid/ODA, international development/development cooperation in Asia - and their social and environmental impacts on the region.

Office location

#343, Dasan Hall


Current research interests

· the shifting geopolitics/geoconomics of development cooperation and the subsequent changes in the development landscape in Asia

·historicising economic/development cooperation in Asia

·Japan and Korea’s economic/development cooperation in Asia

·the politics of development knowledge production in Asia

·decentring, post-colonial debates in the context of development cooperation in Asia

· new and innovative development finance in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals

Academic and professional positions

· Chair of Graduate Program in Southeast Asian Studies (March 2023 ~)

· Visiting Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo (June ~ August 2022)

· Global Engagement Committee Member, the Japan Society for International Development (2021~).

· Regional Editor, International Journal of Asian Studies, Cambridge University Press (January 2024~)

· Editorial Board Member, the English Issue of Journal of International Development Studies published by the Japan Society for International Development (2021 ~)

· Civilian non-standing Executive Board Member, Korea International Cooperation Agency (January 2019 ~ June 2020)

· Associate Editor, TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia, Cambridge University Press (July 2015 ~)

· Editorial member, Rajabhat Journal of Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences (2018~)




· KIC3005. International Development Cooperation Agendas (Taught in Korean)
· SHU4028. Introduction to Human Geography (Taught in Korean)


·SES6224.Critical issues in Southeast Asia's Natural Resources (Taught in English)

·SES6225.Critical issues in Southeast Asia's Natural Resources (Taught in English)

·SES6231.The Changing Development Landscape of Southeast Asia (Taught in English)

·SES6235.Development Cooperation in Southeast Asia (Taught in English)

·GISA223.International Development Cooperation (Taught in English)

Key Publications

Articles in Refereed Journals

·Kim, S., Wang, M. and Sato, J. (2023) Development Knowledge in the Making: The Case ofJapan, South Korea and China,Progress in Development Studies, 23(3): 275-293.

·Kim, S. (2023) Making a Case for Postcolonial Thinking in International Development Studies: Towards a More Critical and Self-reflexive Field,Journal of International Development Studies,31(3): 83-103.

· Kim, S. (2022) A ‘Balancing Act’ Between Development Impacts and National Interests: a Case Study of Japan’s Private Sector Investment Finance,The Korean Journal of Area Studies41(2): 33~61. DOI : 10.29159/KJAS.40.3.2 (In Korean)

· Kim, S. (2022)Contextualising the ‘innovative Development Finance’ Agenda: a case study of Korea’s ‘Gaebal-Geumyung,’Journal of International Development Studies, 31(1): 103-114.

·Kim, S. 2022. Rendering (in-)visible? analysing the formation of Japan's Triangular Development Cooperation in Southeast Asia,Globalizations19(7): 1068-1087.

·Kim, S. 2020. Development Cooperation for Coexistence in the Age of Anthropocene,International Development and Cooperation Review12(4): 1-17.

·Kim,S.andOh,S.2020.Mobilsing and diversifying development finance: A critical analysis of ODA modernisation process,International Development and Cooperation Review12(1): 59-71.

·Kim, S.and Yoo, Y. 2019. Fuelling Development? The Rise of New Development Finance in Korea’s Overseas Energy Cooperation with Southeast Asia,The European Journal of Development Research, 31 (5):1470–1489.

·Kim, S.and Kim, J.H. 2019. The Case for a Relationalist Approach to Development Cooperation: Unpacking the Substantialist Imaginary of UNICEF’s Breastfeeding Campaign in Thailand,International Development and Cooperation Review11 (2): 91-111.

·Kim, S.and Kang, H. 2018. A Review of Southeast Asia-related Development Cooperation Studies in Korea: Exploring a Possible Contribution from the Critical Southeast Asian Studies, The Southeast Asian Review 28 (2): 47–84.

·Lightfoot,S.andKim,S.(2017)The EU and the Negotiation of Global Development Norms: The Case of Aid Effectiveness,European Foreign Affairs Review22(2):159-175.

·Kim, S. (2016) Tracing the roots and domestic sources of Korea’s ODA: aid as a cold war statecraft for a middle income country,Journal of International Cooperation Studies24(1): 87-102.

·Kim,S. and Gray, K. (2016) Overseas Development Aid as Spatial Fix?: Examining South Korea’s Africa Policy,Third World Quarterly 37(4):649-664

·Kim,S.and Kang, H. (2015) Young and Dynamic? – a critical review of Korea’s national level post-MDG debates, Journal of International Development 27(6): 776–800·

·Kim,S.,Ojo, G, Zaidi, R.Z., and Bryant, R.(2012b)Bringing the ‘other’ into political ecology: reflecting on preoccupations in a research field,Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography,33(1),pp.34-48.

·Kim,S.,Ojo, G, Zaidi, R.Z., and Bryant, R.(2012a)‘Other’ Political Ecologies: Editors’ Introduction,Journal of Tropical Geography, 33(1),pp.29-33.

·Kim,S.(2011)Bridging Two Worlds? An Analysis of the ethical case for South Korean aid,Journal of International Development,23(6),pp.802-822.

·Kim,S. and Lightfoot, S. (2011) Does ‘DAC-Ability’ Really Matter? The emergence of non-DAC Donors’,Journal of International Development23 (5), pp. 711–721.

· Pickering, J., Skovgaard, J.,Kim, S., Roberts, J.T., Rossati, D., and Stadelmann, M., Reich, H. (2015), Acting on Climate Finance Pledges: Inter-Agency Dynamics and Relationships with Aid in Contributor States,World Development68: 149-162

· Kim, S. (2012d), ‘Japan’s common but differentiated approach to climate change in Africa’,Japanese Studies32 (2): 255-274.

· Kim, S. (2012c) ‘Contextualising political ecology: the case of Japan’s bilateral environmental aid to the Philippines’,Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 33 (1). pp.108-123.

· Kim, S. (2010) ‘Greening the Dam: the case of Japan’s Bilateral International Cooperation with the Philippines’,Geoforum, 41 (4), pp. 627–637.

· Kim, S. (2009) ‘Translating sustainable development: greening of Japan’s international cooperation’,Global Environmental Politics, 9(2), pp. 24-51.

Edited books and manuscripts

·Sato, J. and Kim, S. (forthcoming)The Semantics of Development in Asia - Exploring ‘Untranslatable’ Ideas through Japan, Springer Nature

Book chapters

·Fiori, A., Gray, K., Kim, S., and Passeri, A. (2019), 'Crossing boundaries: South Korea's global diplomacy outside Northeast Asia', in Milani, M., Fiori, A., and Dian, M. (eds.),The Korean Paradox Domestic Political Divide and Foreign Policy in South Korea, pp. 157-178.

·김소연. 2017. “새롭게 부상하는 동남아시아의 남남협력국: 태국을 중심으로”, 심주형, 김소연, 이한우, 배기현, 윤대영 저, 『열린 동남아초국가적 관계와 새로운 정체성의 모색』. pp. 69-107.

Other Papers and Reports


· Kim, S. (2013) Korea in Africa: A Missing Piece in the Jigsaw?, in Alden, C. and Kitchen, N. (eds.) LSEIDEAS AIAP Strategic Report: Africa and Emerging Actors, pp. 51-67, London: The London School of Economics and Political Science.

· Kim, S. (2013) Any national debate about post-2015 in South Korea?, NORRAG Newsletter 49: 41-42.

· Kim, S. (2013) The Busan discourse on results, effectiveness, impact, and value for money: what do they mean for emerging donors?, NORRAG Newsletter 47: 45-47.

· Kim, S. (2010) Korea: Something old, something borrowed, NORRAG Newsletter 44: 76-78

· Kim, S. (2010) Energy and Environment: Green Sparks and Shoots, Special Report for the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Africa-Asian Confidential, April, pp 8-9.

· Campling, L. and Kim, S. (2007), 'Japan: Production System and Market Structure', in Campling, L., Havice, E. and Ran-Bidesi, V.,Pacific Island Countries, the Global Tung Industry and the International Trade Regime, pp.235-278.