Clare Kim is a historian of science and technology in the United States. Her research and teaching focus on the history of twentieth and twenty-first century mathematical sciences, examining how mathematical thought and practice have impacted representations of knowledge and difference in intellectual and political life. Her other research interests include histories of race, the social sciences, and scientific exchange between the U.S. and East Asia.
Her first book manuscript examines how modernist concerns with aesthetic self-reference, axiomatic, and formal experimentations were shaped by mathematicians’ exchanges with artists, designers, and social scientists over the long twentieth century. Locating these changes alongside shifts in US immigration laws, higher education, and cultural perceptions, she shows how interdisciplinary exchanges, on the one hand, and racial formations such as around Asian and Asian-American identity, on the other, contoured who and what counted as a mathematical subject.
Her second project traces the history of “cryptanalysis” from the First World War through the Cold War. Focusing on the entanglements between mathematicians and classical philologists over the technical study of ciphers and codes, she examines how changing humanistic and computational practices collectively participated in military intelligence work and became embedded in ideas about security.
Kim’s research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, German Historical Institute, MIT Center for International Studies, and Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study. She received her PhD from the Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) at MIT.