Associate Professor
Phone number
(646) 355-8531
Room number
09.65.07 New Building
University of Minnesota
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Susan Kang, Associate Professor of Political Science, received a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a PhD from the University of Minnesota. Her research and teaching interests include international relations, international political economy, labor and human rights, and international law. She has published articles in the following journals: New Political ScienceHuman Rights Quarterly and Journal of Workplace Rights, and Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.  Her book Human Rights and Labor Solidarity: Trade Unions and the Global Economy was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2012.  Her co-edited volume, Human Rights: Institutions and Practices, was published by University of Toronto Press in 2019. Prof. Kang is currently an editor of Global Constitutionalism, a Cambridge University Press peer reviewed research journal.  She is the former co-chair of the Labor Project, an American Political Science Association Related Group.

Scholarly Work
  • (2023) "Climate Change the Challenge to Liberalism" Global Constitutionalism, 12(1), pp. 1-10 (first author with Havercroft J, Eisler J, Shaw J, Wiener A).
  • (2022) “Pandemic Possibilities and the United States Left,” Journal of International Peace and Organization, 95 (1-2), pp. 89-115.
  • (2022) “The pendulum swings back: New authoritarian threats to liberal democratic constitutionalism.” Global Constitutionalism 11: 1–8 (fifth author with Eisler J, Havercroft J, Shaw J, Wiener A)
  • (2022) “Trade Union Rights” Elgar Encyclopedia of Human Rights, Christina Bidner, Manfred Nowak, Jane A Hofbauer and Philipp Janig, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.
  • (2019) Human Rights: Institutions and Practices, co-edited volume with Gordon DiGiacomo, University of Toronto Press.
  • (2019) “Human Rights and Police Accountability,” in Human Rights: Institutions and Practices, Gordon DiGiacomo and Susan Kang, University of Toronto Press, pp. 242-262.
  • (2018). Legal geographies of labour and postdemocracy: Reinforcing non‐standard work in South Korea.Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers43(2), 200-214 (as second author with Jamie Doucette)
  • (2018) “Engendering Justice: The Promotion of Women in Post-conflict and Post-transitional Criminal Justice Institutions” in Crossing Boundaries of Gender and Politics in the Global South, Gender in Human Rights and Transitional Justice, Lahai, John, Moyo, Khanyisela (Eds.), (first author, with Rosemary Barberet, et al), Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 175-206.
  • (2017) “Public Sector Employment and International Labor Rights: The International Labor Organization on Public Sector Workers” Springer Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance, A. Farazmand (ed.), pp 1-7.
  • (2017) “What the Documents Can’t Tell You: Participant Observation in International Relations.” PS: Political Science & Politics, 50(1), 121-125
  • (2016) “Whither Economic and Social Rights: Considering the Place of Economic and Social Rights in the Post-Crisis Context,” in Human Rights Protection for Canadians: International, National, and Provincial Rights Regimes (Gord DiGiacomo, ed.) (with Jennifer Rutledge), pp. 359-380.
  • (2013) "Contesting Claims of Science: Democratic Legitimacy and Disrupting Mad Cow Policies in the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement," Globalizations, Volume 10 (4), 587-602.
  • (2013) “Demands Belong to the 99%” Book chapter, in Occupying Political Science: The Occupy Wall Street Movement from New York to the World (2013), Palgrave Macmillan, Christopher Malone, Meghana Nayak, Matthew Bolton, Emily Welty (editors).
  • (2012) “Right v. Privilege: Contesting Public Sector Labor Rights in the United States,” Agora contribution in Human Rights Review, Volume 13 (3): 379-389.
  • (2012) Rights and Solidarity: Trade Union Rights in the Global Economy, University of Pennsylvania Press (Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights)
  • (2010) “Labor and the Bank: Investigating the Politics of the World Bank's Employing Workers' Index.” Journal of Workplace Rights Vol. 14(4) 481-501.
  • (2009). “The Unsettled Relationship of Economic and Social Rights and the West: A Response to Whelan and Donnelly,” Human Rights Quarterly 31(4), pp. 1006-1029.
  • (2009). “Forcing Prison Labor: International Labor Standards, Human Rights and the Privatization of Prison Labor in the Contemporary United States,” New Political Science, 31(2), pp. 137-161.
Research Summary

My research focuses on the ways in which trade unions and other civil society actors challenge the erosion of economic and social rights by unresponsive states.  In addition to conventional domestic strategies, such as strikes or demonstrations, these actors also use international tools such as human rights treaties and institutions to delegitimize existing domestic practices.  I place my research at the intersection of international political economy, international law, and human rights.  I am also interested in possibilities for a new socialist left, solidaristic, and redistribution based politics in the post-Cold War, post finanical crisis.