Department of Ethnic Studies - College of Letters and Science - University of California, Berkeley

People / Faculty

Core Faculty

Khatharya Um

Associate Professor

Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies

Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian American Studies, refugee migration, transnational and diaspora studies, post-colonial, conflict and post conflict studies and genocide studies, access and education of racialized minorities in American public schools

- Chancellor’s Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley

- Ph.D. (Political Science), University of California, Berkeley

- M.A. (Political Science), University of California, San Diego

- B.A. (Political Science), University of California, San Diego


  • 568 Barrows Hall


Bio & Research Interests


  • Politics of memory and commemoration in post conflict communities
  • Transnationalism and diaspora
  • Colonial and postcolonial studies
  • Community Studies and Oral History
  • Southeast Asia and Southeast American communities
  • Youth and second generation issues
  • Human rights, human security, and social justice
  • Genocide studies
  • Wars, empires and refugees
  • Education


  • Critical Refugee Studies (UC multi-campus)
  •  Memory Project
  •  Comparative Asian diaspora
  • Southeast Asian American second generation issues 

Courses Taught


- Introduction to Asian American histories  (AAADS 20A)

- Critical issues in Southeast Asian American communities (AAADS 125)

- Southeast Asian migration, US refugee policies adn international human rights regime (AAADS 126)

- US-Asia:  History and Politics (AAADS 130)

-Asian Diaspora in Comparative Contexts (AAADS 190)

- Honors Seminar (ES/AAADS/NAS/CS H195)



- Critical Concepts, Theories And Approaches in Social Sciences (ES 203)

- Bodies in Motion: Theories and Approches in Transnational and Diaspora Studies (ES 250)

- Critical Pedagogy (ES 375)




From the Land of Shadows: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Cambodian Diaspora
Southeast Asian Migration: People on the Move in Search of Work, Refuge and Belonging

Select publications

  • Um, K. “Crossing Borders: Citizenship, Identity and Transnational Activism in the Cambodian Diaspora” in Um and Gaspar Southeast Asian Migration: People On the Move in Search of Work, Refuge and Belonging (Sussex Academic Press, forthcoming November 2015)

  • Um, K.  “Genocide”, in Key Words in Asian American Studies, edited by Linda Trinh Vo, K. Scott Wong and Cathy Schlund-Vials (under contract with NYU Press)
  • Um, K.  “Education in Colonial and Post-Colonial Cambodia: Technology of Dominance, Technology of Liberation” submitted for Equity, Opportunity and Education in postcolonial Southeast Asia, edited by Cynthia Joseph (forthcoming Routledge, Critical Studies in Asian Education Series, 2014)
  • Um, K. “Southeast Asian American Health and Mental health”, in Handbook on Asian American Health Edited by Grace Yoo, Mai Nhung Le, Alan Oda, Springer, 2013.
  • Um, K.  “Exiled Memory: History, Identity and Remembering in the South East Asian Diaspora” in Southeast Asians in the Diaspora, edited by Mimi Nguyen, Fiona Ngo, and Miriam Lam, Positions, 2012.
  • Um, K.  Wisdom For The Ages, Native Hawaiian Education, NEA, 2011
  • Um, K. “Cambodia 2010: Trials, Tribulations and Tribunals”, in Southeast Asian Affairs, Spring 2011.
  • “Cambodia 2007: A Decade After the Coup,” Southeast Asian Affairs Spring 2008
  • “Diasporic Nationalism and Citizenship,” Refuge, 23:2, 2006
  • “Political Remittances: Diasporas In Conflict and Post-conflict Situations” in Hazel Smith and Paul Stares (eds), Diasporas in Conflict: Peace-makers or peace wreckers?Washington DC: United Nations University Press, 2006
  • “Refractions of Home: Exile, Memory and Diasporic Longing” in Leakthina Tollier and Timothy Winter Expressions of Cambodia: The Politics of Tradition, Identity and Change (Routledge, 2006)
  • “The ‘Vietnam War’: What’s In a Name.” Amerasia, 31:2, 2005, Museum of California, 2005
  • “Locating the ‘Vietnam War’: A Critical Re-Examination of US History,” online curriculum, Museum of California, 2005

Watch an interview with Prof. UM on Youtube  here.

Awards & Honors

- Chancellor's Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship        

- MacArthur Fellowship- Social Sciences

-  Freeman Foundation Grant

-  Luce Foundation Fellowship

- National Science Foundation, Chancellor's Grant

-  Humanities Research Grant

- Abigail Reynolds Hodgen Publication Fund 



Chancellor’s Public Scholar 

- Distinguished Achievement Award- University of Massachusetts- Boston

- Special Recognition – Congresswoman Anna Eshoo 

- Special Recognition- Congressionwoman Barbara Lee 

-  Awarded for outstanding service and special contribution to the education and advancement of Southeast Asian Americans 

Nominated for the Refugee Honor Roll of the UNHCR

- Special Recognition- Southeast Asian Student Coalition