design overlay
Institute welcomes new academic program chairs

Institute welcomes new academic program chairs

Sharing Tools

Link copied!

Michael Thies, long-serving chair of two Institute academic programs, will step down over the coming months, while other faculty go on leave.

UCLA International Institute, June 21, 2021 —  A number of changes in academic program and faculty leadership positions at the International Institute are on the horizon. In some cases, academic chairs who have been part of the life of the International Institute for many years will step down soon. Their successors are familiar faces at the institute and include a number of institute faculty and campus scholars who work closely with its centers.

The institute expresses its heartfelt thanks to these leaders for their innumerable contributions and welcomes a new cohort of academic chairs and faculty into other leadership positions.

Academic Programs

Associate Professor of Political Science Michael Thies will be stepping down as chair of the Global Studies Program on June 30 and the International & Area Studies Program (I&AS) on December 31,* after serving 9 and 12 years in the positions, respectively. Author of “Japan Transformed: Political Change and Economic Restructuring” (Princeton, 2010; with Frances Rosenbluth) and an expert on contemporary Japanese politics, Thies has been a true champion of the students who pursue the interdisciplinary majors and minors of the International Institute.

Thies guided Global Studies to become a highly competitive, popular major and minor at UCLA, supporting its students and expanding its core requirements over time. He oversaw the creation of the I&AS Program to house area studies programs at the institute and supported the addition of several area-specific academic minors in response to student demand.

In addition, Thies expanded the programs’ summer offerings and travel study programs, and supported the creation of both the institute’s international internship course (I A STD 195CE) and a database of UC Education Abroad Program course offerings.

The institute expresses its sincere gratitude to Professor Thies for his dedicated, longstanding leadership of both programs and his invaluable service to the International Institute, which spans many graduating classes of UCLA students with B.A. degrees in the two programs.

Global Studies Program

As of July 1, Associate Professor Margaret Peters, who has a joint faculty appointment in the International Institute and the political science department at UCLA, will become chair of the Global Studies Program. Peters’ research focuses broadly on the international political economy, with a special focus on migration. Her book, “Trading Barriers: Immigration and the Remaking of Globalization” (Princeton, 2017) received several book awards, including from the American Political Science Association, the International Political Science Association and the International Studies Association.

Peters has been part of the Global Studies faculty since 2017, for which she regularly teaches the core course, “Globalization: Markets and Resources.” She is also an associated faculty member of the Center for the Study of International Migration and chairs the International Institute’s Strategic Vision Committee.


International & Area Studies Program

Associate Professor Adam Moore will become chair of the International & Area Studies Program on January 1, 2022. Moore, who has a joint faculty appointment in the Institute and the geography department, is an active member of the institute’s Curriculum Committee and regularly teaches the core I&AS course, “Introduction to International & Area Studies.” For the last decade or so, he has also advised many, many Institute students on their senior theses and honors papers.

Moore’s research focuses on the political and geographical dynamics of war, militarism and peace — what he calls “conflict geographies.” He is the author of two books, “Empire’s Labor: The Global Army that Supports U.S. Wars” (Cornell, 2019) and “Peacebuilding in Practice: Local Experience in Two Bosnian Towns” (Cornell, 2013), both of which won book awards from the American Association of Geographers.


East Asian Studies M.A. Program

And at the East Asian Studies M.A. Program, Academic Chair William Marotti (associate professor of history at UCLA) will be on leave during fall and winter quarters of the 2021–22 academic year. A professor of modern Japanese history, Marotti is the author of “Money, Trains and Guillotines: Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan” (Duke, 2013). His research interests include post-WWII Japan and the Cold War, global history, the 1960s, critical theory, law and legitimation and protest movements. He also serves as director for the Japanese Arts and Globalizations (JAG) multi-campus research group.


Michelle Liu Carriger, assistant professor of theater at the UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television, will serve as interim chair of the program in his absence. Liu Carriger earned her Ph.D. at Brown University is currently working on her first book, which examines clothing and fashion as everyday performance in 19th-century Britain and Japan. She is a long-time practitioner of the Japanese Way of Tea.

Other Faculty News

Robin Derby, UCLA associate professor of history who serves equity advisor at the International Institute and faculty director of the UCLA International Education Office (IEO), will be on sabbatical during the 2021–22 academic year. Derby is the author of  “The Dictator’s Seduction: Politics and the Popular Imagination in the Era of Trujillo” (Duke, 2009) which was published in Spanish in 2016 by the Academy of History of the Dominican Republic. Derby is also co-editor of  “Activating the Past: History and Memory in the Black Atlantic World” (Cambridge Scholars, 2010; with Andrew Apter) and “The Dominican Republic Reader: History, Culture, Politics” (Duke, 2014; with Eric Paul Roorda and Raymundo González). (See article on Derby's latest research.)

Sociologist Jennifer Jihye Chun will serve as interim equity advisor in the coming year. Chun, who has a joint faculty appointment to the Institute and the department of Asian American studies, regularly teaches courses for the Institute’s academic programs and was the chair of the faculty committee who organized the “Black Lives Matter: Global Perspectives” webinar series during the 2020–21 academic year.

From left: Professors Robin Derby, Jennifer Jihye Chun and David Kim.

Chun is the author of the award-winning book, “Organizing at the Margins: The Symbolic Politics of Labor in South Korea and the United States” (Cornell, 2009), and is presently writing a study of protest cultures in South Korea with Ju Hui Judy Han of UCLA’s gender studies department.

David Kim, associate professor in the department of European languages and transcultural studies, will serve as interim faculty director of IEO in 2021–22. Kim is a faculty affiliate of the Institute’s Global Studies program and has created a new Institute Travel Study Program in The Hague that is expected to launch in summer 2022.

Kim’s scholarly interests range from postcolonial and migration studies to international human rights, cultural and political theories, and global literary history. His most recent publications include “Reframing Postcolonial Studies: Concepts—Methodologies—Scholarly Activism” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), and “Cosmopolitan Parables: Trauma and Responsibility in Contemporary Germany” (Northwestern, 2017).

*I&AS oversees Institute majors in African & Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies, European Studies and Latin American Studies, as well as nine area studies minors.

All photos by UCLA.