Do Own (Donna) Kim

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, University of Illinois ChicagoPh.D., Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern CaliforniaKorea Foundation for Advanced Studies (KFAS) Fellowship Alum

Hi, I am Donna (she/her), an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois Chicago's Department of Communication. I study everyday, playful digital cultures and mediated social interactions. I focus on boundary-crossing practices in human-technology assemblages: being together across diverse "real", "online", "virtual", or "imaginary" places, and among the mundane and the weird, the "normal" and the Other. What does it mean to be human in mediated communication environments? How do we want to be together?

I received my Ph.D. degree in Communication from the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (2022). My dissertation—Virtually Human? Negotiation of (Non)Humanness and Agency in the Sociotechnical Assemblage of Virtual Influencers—took a deep dive into boundary crossings in digital reality technology and social media cultures through the lens of virtual influencers (CGI human social media influencers).

Digital communication research requires depth and breadth. I specialize in qualitative research, but also have experience with quantitative and mix-methodological research, including interdisciplinary collaborative research. My research interests are at the intersections of technology studies, cultural studies, and computer-mediated communication (CMC)/human-machine communication (HMC). Topically, I have engaged with cases including, but not limited to, mediated places, games, gender/sexuality, and Korean digital cultures. My work has been published in outlets such as New Media & Society, International Journal of Communication, Mass Communication and Society, Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, and Continuum. Please contact me for PDFs.

I received my B.A. degrees in Media & Communication and English Language & Literature from Korea University (2015). I studied at Nagoya University for a year as an exchange student in 2013-14. I have lived in five different countries including South Korea, China, Canada, USA, and Japan, and speak three languages (Korean, English, Japanese). My cross-cultural experiences, together with my internship at Korea's top advertisement/PR company Cheil Worldwide were what inspired me to pursue digital communication research.