Contact details


South College

150 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9274
United States



Professor Kang is affiliated faculty in Sociology and part of the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a B.A. in Social Studies, and she received her Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University. She studies Asian American feminisms, immigrant women’s work and labor issues, race and reproductive politics, and gender, work and family issues in transnational contexts. Her areas of expertise include feminist ethnography, contemplative pedagogies in the feminist classroom and publicly-engaged research and university diversity and inclusion efforts.

Her book, The Managed Hand: Race, Gender and the Body in Beauty Service Work (University of California Press, 2010), examines migrant women’s labor and the social interactions that occur in Asian-owned New York nail salons growing world of the beauty service industry. The book sheds light on the complex racialized and gendered processes at work in the growing beauty service industry. It won four book awards from the American Sociological Association (Sections on Racial and Ethnic Minorities; on Sex and Gender; on Race, Gender, and Class; and on Asia/Asian America) and the Sara Whaley book prize from the National Women’s Studies Association. Kang’s new book project, entitled Mother Other: Race and Reproductive Politics in Asian America (under contract with University of California Press) explores the racial politics of mothering and the work and family issues at play for Asian American women. Kang’s other work has appeared in Gender, Work, and Organization, Women and Environments, Contexts, Meridians and Gender and Society.

In 2017 and 2018, Kang was a Fulbright Senior Scholar with Ewha University and a Korea Foundation Fellow with Seoul National University, researching work and family issues for Asian and Asian American women in transnational contexts. Her research has also been supported by the Worldwide University Network, the American Association of University Women, the Ford Foundation, the Institute for Asian American Studies at UMass Boston, the Labor Relations and Research Center at UMass Amherst, and the Social Science Research Council.


  • ’What Does a Manicure Have to Do With Sex?’: Racialised Sexualisation of Body Labour in Routine Service Work,” in Wolkowitz, Carol, editor. Body/Sex/ Work: Intimate, Embodied and Sexualised Labour. London: Palgrave. 160-174. 2010. 2010
  • “Teachers as Good Mothers, Mothers as Good Teachers: Functional and ideological work-family alignment in the South Korean teaching profession” inGender, Work, and Organization 1.19 with Hye Jun Park and Juyeon Park, 2019.
  • “Contrasting Scientific Discourses of Skin Lightening in Domestic and Global Contexts” in Oxford Handbook on the Sociology of the Body and Embodiment. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).
  • “Manicures as Transnational Body Labor,” in Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia, edited by S. Heijin Lee, Christina H. Moon and Thuy Lihn Nguyen, New York: NYU Press, 2019.
  • “Is It Possible to Get a Safe, Fair Manicure?” Women and Environments 96/97: 30-34, 2016.
  • “Are Second-Generation Korean American Women Tiger Mothers? Strategic, Transnational, and Resistant Responses to Racialized Mothering.” In Pyong Gap. Min and Samuel Noh, eds. 2014.
  • Second-Generation Korean Experiences in the United States and Canada. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. 227-247. 2013.
  • “Reinventing Dirty Work: Immigrant Women in Nursing Homes.” Co-authored with Lucy Fisher, University of California San Francisco, in Flores-González, Nilda, Anna Romina Guevarra, Maura Toro-Morn, and Grace Chang. Immigrant Women Workers in the Neoliberal Age. Urbana, IL; University of Illinois Press. 164-185. 2013.
  • “’What Does a Manicure Have to Do With Sex?’: Racialised Sexualisation of Body Labour in Routine Service Work,” in Wolkowitz, Carol, editor. Body/Sex/ Work: Intimate, Embodied and Sexualised Labour. London: Palgrave. 160-174. 2010. 2010.
  • “Manicuring Intimacies: Inequality and Resistance in Asian-Owned Nail Salons,” in Intimate Labors: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Care, Sex, and Domestic Work, Eileen Boris, and Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, eds. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. 217-231. 2010.
  • “Writing Bodies and Emotions into the Study of Gender, Work and Immigration.” In Fenstermaker, Sarah and Nikki Jones, eds. Sociologists Backstage: Answers To 10 Questions About What They Do. New York: Routledge. 63-72. 2007. “Why Do People Get Tattoos?.” Contexts: Understanding People in Their Social Worlds. 6:1: 42-47. Co-authored with Katherine Jones.

Courses Recently Taught

  • Reproducing Race, Sexuality and Citizenship
  • Asian American Feminisms
  • Feminism, Buddhist Thought and Contemplative Practices
  • Issues in Feminist Research
  • Body Politics
  • Gender and Difference:  Critical Analyses
  • Issues in Feminist Research