Publication Date

October 16, 2020

Perspectives Section

Member Spotlight, Perspectives Daily


  • Europe



Young Richard Kim is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois, and has been a member since 2004.

Young Richard Kim

Young Richard Kim

Twitter: @YoungRichardKim

Alma maters: BA (history), UCLA, 1999; MA (Latin), University of Michigan, 2004; PhD (history), University of Michigan, 2006

Fields of Interest: ancient Mediterranean, late antiquity, late ancient Christianity, Cyprus, Byzantium, early medieval Europe

Describe your career path. What led you to where you are today?

My career has taken some interesting turns! After graduate school, I taught for 11 years at Calvin College (now University), a small liberal arts school in Michigan, where I cultivated my craft as a teacher, maintained a steady research agenda, and gained valuable administrative experience. I then took a professional risk and entered the world of public benefit work at the Onassis Foundation USA, for which I developed an educational program focused on humanities education, public outreach, and social justice. I also learned about the importance of community engagement, the democratic potential of education and the arts, and enduring value of cultural institutions and programs. However, my passion for teaching and research ultimately drew me back to academia, this time to the University of Illinois at Chicago.

What do you like the most about where you live and work?

As a beneficiary of the gift of public education all my life, I believe in the importance of strong public schools and universities for the well-being of our society. I find great joy in contributing to this vital work, especially at a place like UIC, where diversity, inclusion, equity, and broad access, together with teaching, research excellence, and service, are deeply valued and put into practice.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am editing the Cambridge Companion to the Council of Nicaea, and I am writing a book on Cyprus in late antiquity.

Have your interests evolved since graduation? If so, how?

My earlier work focused on the life and work of Epiphanius of Cyprus, a bishop and heresiologist active in the late fourth century CE. History, philology, theology, and religious studies were important disciplines that informed my work, and my current research builds on these but also integrates archaeology, art history, and environmental history.

What’s the most fascinating thing you’ve ever found at the archives or while doing research?

I spent a year as a Fulbright research fellow in Cyprus, where I worked on my first book. While I spent most of time at the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, with its superb library and resources, I also discovered that there are places on the island—ancient archaeological sites along the coast, medieval castles and fortresses in the foothills, and Byzantine churches and monasteries with breathtaking wall paintings in the mountains—where one can virtually go back in time. I spent a year “time-traveling,” not with a TARDIS, but an Opel Astra, which I believe gave me deeper insight into the island and its place in the broader ancient and medieval Mediterranean world.

Is there an article, book, movie, blog etc. that you could recommend to fellow AHA members?

Eidolon is an important blog whose content is exploring the intersection of classics and the contemporary moment, with an eye to understanding what decolonizing the discipline means, amplifying marginalized voices and perspectives, generating dialogue and debate and, I hope, catalyzing intradisciplinary reflection, critique, and change. Pharos: Doing Justice to the Classics is another important online platform that documents and responds to the misappropriation of Greco-Roman antiquity by hate groups.

What do you value most about the history discipline?

History is my disciplinary “home,” and I value how it encompasses the examination of both the finest, most specific details and the biggest, most sweeping questions about our world, and just about everything in-between.

Why is membership in the AHA important to you?

To me, membership in the AHA is about being part of a larger community of historians and scholars. I grow the most as a teacher and researcher when I am in conversation with colleagues whose work is very different from mine, chronologically and geographically.

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, Perspectives Daily features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

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Matthew Keough
Matthew Keough

American Historical Association