Katharine Moon

Edith Stix Wasserman Professor Emerita of Asian Studies & Professor Emerita of Political Science

Expert on the U.S.-Korea alliance and comparative social movements in East Asia (democratization, women's movements, migrant workers, human rights); migration and identity politics.

Katharine (Kathy) H.S. Moon is a professor of Political Science and the Wasserman Chair of Asian Studies at Wellesley College, where she has taught since 1993. She is also a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution Center for East Asia Policy and was the inaugural holder of the SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies (2014-2016). She received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Smith College and a doctorate from Princeton University, the Department of Politics. She was born in San Francisco.

Professor Moon’s research encompasses the U.S.-Korea alliance, East Asian politics, inter-Korean relations, democratization, nationalisms, women and gender politics, international migration, identity politics, and comparative social movements in East Asia. She is the author of Protesting America: Democracy and the U.S.-Korea Alliance, which discusses the the impact of South Korean democracy on the U.S.-Korea alliance and the institutional and procedural changes needed to improve the management of the alliance. Kathy Moon also authored Sex Among Allies: Military Prostitution in U.S.-Korea Relations, which explains how foreign policy decisions affect local communities hosting U.S. bases, particularly, women. Her current book project, “New Koreans and the Future of Korea’s Democracy,” analyzes the impact of demographic change (North Korean defectors and "multicultural" immigrants) in South Korea on Korean democracy and foreign policy. Her research awards include grants from the Henry Luce Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the U.S. Fulbright Program, the American Association of University Women, the National Bureau of Asian Research, and the Social Science Research Council.

Moon’s current teaching portfolio includes the following courses: World Politics; Nation-building and Nationalism in East Asia; International Migration; Gender and Women in World Politics.

Kathy Moon also served in the Office of the Senior Coordinator for International Women’s Issues in the U.S. Department of State and as a trustee of Smith College. She is a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Korea Working Group, the Steering Committee of the National Committee on North Korea, and is an affiliated faculty at the Korea Institute, Harvard University. Her blogs and op-eds have been widely circulated and are available at www.brookings.edu/author/katharine-h-s-moon/?type=posts.


  • A.B., Smith College
  • M.A., Princeton University
  • Ph.D., Princeton University