dr. D.U. (David) Shim

Universitair docent


Research interests

My work inquires the modes of representation that are central for the constitution of global politics. It follows a trans- and multimodal approach – images, sounds, texts – in the study of the international and the political. Representation is conceptualized not as a mimetic reflection of the world, but as its condition of possibility and intelligibility. In this vein, representation is understood to be affective, material, performative and semiotic.

My work explores different sites of visuality – e.g. comics, film, photography and satellite imagery – with regard to their specific politics of representation. In doing so, it benefits from concepts and approaches common in the field of Human Geography, Media Studies, Political Science and Sociology.

In my book Visual Politics and North Korea, Routledge, I am engaging the ‘visual turn’ in International Relations and, based on a discussion of two fields of vision – everyday photography and satellite imagery –, argue that images play a decisive role in how we come to know North Korea in contemporary geopolitics (see also my co-authored article in International Studies Perspectives). Book reviews can be found at e-ir.infoInternationale Spectator38 North and NK News.

Currently, I am examining everyday spaces of the international. While a piece on geopolitics and imaginaries of home has been published in International Studies Review, at the moment I am exploring the workplaces of IR scholars – the micro spaces of where the international is being researched, taught and practiced – with the aim to introduce visual sociology as a method to IR.

In my work on remote sensing, I am asking how satellite vision relates to current geopolitical practice and how it shapes our understanding of places, spaces and sites. An article on satellite images as visual spatial imaginaries appeared in Geoforum and will appear in a shortened and updated version in the edited volume Spatial Modernities: Geography, Narrative, Imaginaries (2018). Another piece on the role of satellite imagery in the Ukraine conflict is forthcoming in Visual Global Politics, Routledge, edited by Roland Bleiker (2018).

In my work on comics, I am exploring the ways how geopolitical storytelling is put to work. A paper in which I examine a comic booklet by the South Korean Ministry of National Defense appeared in International Political Sociology. Currently, I am researching Australia's narratives of border protection in silent comics, which are graphic narratives that work without words.

My collaborative projects focus on expanding the notion of peace photography with Frank Möller (Tampere Peach Research Institute; forthcoming in International Studies Perspectives), exploring the global politics of satellite-based activism with Delf Rothe (Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy; see a piece in Review of International Studies) and examining the gendered mediatisation of war by the German Armed Forces on social media with Frank Stengel (University of Kiel; see a piece in Global Discourse).

I have also expertise in the field of Asian Studies with emphasis on Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula. Currently, I am co-editing a Special Issue with Roland Bleiker and David Chapman (University of Queensland) on "Visualizing Korea".

In an article in International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, I am exploring with Philipp Olbrich (RUG) symbolic practices of the North Korean leadership with regard to its space programme. In another co-authored piece in Current Issues in Tourism with Dorina Buda (Leeds Beckett University), I have asked how psychoanalytic approaches to desire provide useful insights into ‘dark tourism' in North Korea (see also a response to a commentary that we received). With Nadine Godehardt (German Institute for International and Security Affairs) I have examined in Asian Perspective the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and its impact on Northeast Asia. And with Patrick Flamm (University of Auckland) I have authored a piece on South Korea as a regional power in Pacific Focus.

I have translated some of my research interests in visuality into teaching practice on my blog Visual Global Politics.

Since 2016, I am a member of the research network ‘Understanding Visuality in Global Politics’, which is funded by the German Research Foundation. A related project blog can be found here.

  1. Visions of Peace in International Relations

    Möller, F. & Shim, D. 2018 (Accepted/In press) In : International Studies Perspectives.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Sensing the Ground: On the Global Politics of Satellite-based Activism

    Rothe, D. & Shim, D. Jul-2018 In : Review of International Studies. 44, 3, p. 414-437 24 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Satellite Vision and Geographical Imagination

    Shim, D. 1-Jun-2018 Spatial Modernities: Geography, Narrative, Imaginaries. Riquet, J. & Kollmann, E. (eds.). Boca Raton: Routledge, (Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  4. Narrating Geopolitical Events: How to do a Visual Discourse Analysis of Comics

    Shim, D. 2018 (Submitted) How to do Popular Culture in International Relations. Salter, M. & Yao, S. (eds.). Routledge

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  5. Can we move beyond conflict?

    Bleiker, R. & Shim, D. 2018 (Submitted) Global Politics: A New Introduction. Edkins, J. & Zehfuss, M. (eds.). 3rd ed. Routledge

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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  1. Visual Culture and the Legitimacy of Military Interventions: Images Media War

    Shim, D. (Invited speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

  2. Seoul National University

    Shim, D. (Invited speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

  3. University of Duisburg-Essen

    Shim, D. (Invited speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

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