About Radcliffe / Faculty Directors

Jinah Kim

  • Arts
  • Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts, Harvard Radcliffe Institute; and George P. Bickford Professor of Indian and South Asian Art, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Portrait of Jinah Kim
Photo courtesy of Jinah Kim

Jinah Kim, the Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts at Radcliffe, is a scholar of the art and architecture of South and Southeast Asia. Her research interests include text-image relationships, female representations and patronage, and the reappropriation of sacred objects and sites.

Kim’s first book, Receptacle of the Sacred: Illustrated Manuscripts and the Buddhist Book Cult in South Asia (University of California Press, 2013), received an honorable mention for the Association for Asian Studies’ Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize. Her most recent work, Garland of Visions: Color, Tantra, and a Material History of Indian Painting (University of California Press, 2021), demonstrates how medieval pothi manuscripts enabled the material transformation of Indian painting into a portable media that conveyed many forms of knowledge—ritual, artistic, social, scientific, and religious—across great distances. Her third monograph, in progress and tentatively titled “Paper, Pothi, and the Goddess: History of Devi Manuscripts and Gender in the Art of the Book in South Asia,” explores the preponderance of goddess texts in the corpus of painted manuscripts in medieval South Asia, focusing on gendered aspects of artistic production and ritual practices. Kim also directs a digital humanities project, Mapping Color in History, that will serve as an open database for historical research on pigments in Asian painting. In 2019, she cocurated Dharma and Puṇya: Buddhist Ritual Art of Nepal, a special exhibition held at the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery, at College of the Holy Cross. 

Kim earned her PhD in the history of art from the University of California, Berkeley. She has received a GRI-NEH Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Mellon Fellowship for Assistant Professors at the Institute of Advanced Study, and grants from the American Institute of Indian Studies and the Asian Cultural Council.

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