People / Faculty


Khatharya Um

Associate Dean | Associate Professor |

Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies

access and education of racialized minorities in American public schools, and citizenship, and culture, and mobility, API Educational Issues, Asian American History, Asian American Studies, Colonialism and Post-Colonial Studies, Community Studies, conflict and post conflict studies and genocide studies, Cultural Citizenship, Cultures of US Imperialism, Diaspora Studies, Education, Ethnic Studies, Ethnographic and Historical Methods, Ethnography, Gender & generation, transnational migration in Asia, gender and class and their intersections in relation to immigration, globalization, Governmentality, history, History (Asian American, History (Asian American, Chinese American), Contemporary Community Issues, Human Rights, Immigrant writing and film, Immigration, International Migration, Migration, Migrations, Nation, Political/Social/Ethnic Conflict, post-colonial, Post-colonial Studies, Poverty, Race and Ethnic Relations, Racial/Ethnic Politics, refugee migration, Social and Revolutionary Movements, Social movements, Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian American 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-educatio, transnational and diaspora studies, transnational migration in Asia, Transnationalism

- 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 Social Sciences Building


t: 510-643-0796

Bio & Research Interests


  • Politics of memory and commemoration in post conflict communities
  • Transnationalism and diaspora
  • Asia, Asian American histories and communities, and Asian diasporas
  • 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



– Introduction to Asian American histories  (AAADS 20A)

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

– Southeast Asian migration, US refugee policies and international human rights regime (AAADS 126)

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

-Diasporic Imaginaries: Narrating war, exile and longing by and in the Southeast Asian diaspora” (AAADS 131)

-Asian Diasporas: Narrating displacement, home, and belonging  (AAADS 131)

-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, Concepts, and Issues in Critical Refugee, Diaspora and Transnational Studies (ES 240)

– Critical Pedagogy (ES 375)



2019 Recipient – Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence and Equity




From the land of shadows1
Volume cover sussex
Khatharya book



  • Departures: In Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies  (UC Press 2022)
  • From the Land of Shadows: War, Revolution and the Making of The Cambodian Diaspora, (NYU 2015)
  • Southeast Asian Migration: People On the Move in Search of Work, Refuge and Belonging (Sussex Academic Press,  November 2015)

Select Articles

  • Um, K. “Landscaped Memory Loss, Longing, and Reinvention in the Diasporic Imaginary,” in Patrick Nardin and Soko Phay,  Le Paysage Après Coup  (Landscaped After/War),  Editions Naima, Paris 2022
  • Um, K. “The Wounds Of Memory:  Poetics, Pain, and Possibilities in Rithy Panh’s Exile and Que la barque se brise ” in Joseph Mai and Leslie Barnes eds.  The Cinema of Rithy Panh: Everything Has a Soul, Rutgers, 2021.
  • Um K.  “Kambodscha: Turbulenzen und Kontinuitäten”  in Welt trends: Das außenpolitische Journal, June 2021
  • Um, K. “Documenter la douleur des autres: Souvenirs, identités et appartenance dans les imaginaires diasporiques de Teochew », DeFacto, No 23, Paris, November 2020.
  • Um, K. “Diasporas and the Politics of Memory and Commemoration,” in Robin Cohen and Carolin Fischer, Handbook on Diasporas Studies, Routledge, August 2018.
  • 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,  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.


  • Institute For The Study of Societal Issues Research Grant
  • UC MultiCampus Collaborative Grant for Critical Refugee Studies
  • Social Sciences Matrix Collaborative Research chGrant
  • UCI Humanities Research Institute Fellowship
  • 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


  • Berkeley Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence
  • Chancellor’s Public Scholar
  • Distinguished Achievement Award- University of Massachusetts- Boston
  • Special Recognition – Congresswoman Anna Eshoo
  • Special Recognition- Congresswoman Barbara Lee
  • Notable Cambodian Americans:  Award 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





  • Critical Refugee Studies Collective
  • Global Studies Program
  • Center for Southeast Asian Studies
  • Institute for European Studies
  • Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative
  • UCSD Center for Comparative Immigration Studies
  • UC Berkeley-UC San Francisco Joint Medical Program/ Berkeley Public Health
  • Berkeley Human Rights Center