Kimberly Hess

Kimberly Hess

Department of Sociology, University of Michigan

Kimberly Hess is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Michigan. Her research interests center broadly around the culture and politics of inclusion and exclusion within states and nations.

Kim's dissertation, “Representation Matters: Minority Inclusion and American National Identity in K-12 U.S. State Social Studies Standards,” considers how social, historical, and regional contexts affect who and what is included in contemporary US social studies education and how differences in these inclusions relate to different narratives of American history and national identity. She uses a comparative analysis of all 50 states’ K-12 social studies curriculum standards, alongside case studies of the process of standards creation and revision in six states, to identify patterns within social studies education in terms of minority representation, characterizations of US history and government, and portrayals of American national identity. She is interested in the ways that nationalism affects and is affected by the content of history and civics education in particular.

Kim holds an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in History from the University of Maryland. While at Michigan, she has taught many courses in the sociology department, as well as a first-year writing course of her own design on nations and nationalism. Kim also served as an online teaching course consultant for her department in 2020 and published a co-authored article in Teaching Sociology based on this work supporting instructors during the pandemic. When she’s not teaching or working on research, Kim enjoys gardening, traveling, and spending time with her family.

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