Nam C. Kim

Credentials: PhD (University of Illinois-Chicago)

Position title: Director, Center for Southeast Asian Studies; Professor, Department of Anthropology


Phone: (608) 262-2187

5438 Sewell Social Science


Nam C Kim CV

“Legendary Cổ Loa: Vietnam’s Ancient Capital” (2020). Interview with Tristan Hughes, part of History Hit TV’s podcast series The Ancients

“The Origins of Warfare” (2021). Interview with Tristan Hughes, part of History Hit TV’s podcast series The Ancients

“The Origins of Civilisation” (2021). Interview with Tristan Hughes, part of History Hit TV’s podcast series The Ancients 

2021 Violence and Warfare in Humanity’s Past. Lecture given for PBS Wisconsin’s University Place (March 3)


Archaeology, Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Complex societies, Warfare


Center for East Asian Studies
Center for Southeast Asian Studies
Vietnam Institute of Archaeology (Hanoi)


I am an anthropological archaeologist interested in sociopolitical complexity, early forms of cities, factors associated with significant cultural change, and the relationship between modern politics, cultural heritage, and the material record. I am  especially interested in the cultural contexts and social consequences of organized violence and warfare, as manifested in various cultural, spatial and temporal settings. Much of my recent research has been geographically focused on East and Southeast Asia, and since 2005 I have been conducting archaeological fieldwork in Vietnam at the Co Loa settlement in the Red River Delta. A heavily fortified site located near modern-day Hanoi, Co Loa is purportedly connected to Vietnamese legendary accounts and is thus viewed by many as integral to the genesis of Vietnamese civilization. Aside from its historical and national significance, the case of Co Loa is salient for archaeological theory as it constitutes one of the earliest cases for both state formation and urbanism in Southeast Asia.

Emergent Warfare in Our Evolutionary Past (Routledge, 2018)

The Origins of Ancient Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2015)


  • Anth 100: General Anthropology
  • Anth 102: Archaeology and the Prehistoric World
  • Anth 310: Topics in Archaeology
    • Topic: Archaeology of East and Southeast Asia
    • Topic: Archaeology of Southeast Asia
    • Topic: Archaeology of Violence and Warfare
  • Anth 490: Undergraduate Seminar
    • Topic: Archaeology of Warfare
    • Topic: Ancient States and Empires of East and Southeast Asia
    • Topic: Ancient Urbanism and Social Complexity
  • Anth 942: Graduate Seminar
    • Topic: Archaeology of Warfare


  • Higham, Charles and Nam C. Kim (editors). 2022. The Oxford Handbook of Early Southeast Asia. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Kim, Nam. 2020. A Pathway to Emergent Social Complexity and State Power: A View from Southeast Asia. In The Evolution of Social Institutions, edited by Dmitri D. Beliaev, Dmitri M. Bondarenko, Richard J. Chacon, Yamilette Chacon, Stephen Kowalewski, and David Small, pp. 225-253. Springer.
  • Kim, Nam and Jina Heo. 2019. Built Environments and Social Organizations: A Comparative View from Asia. In Architectural Energetics in Archaeology: Analytical Expansions and Global Explorations, edited by Elliot Abrams and Leah McCurdy, pp. 26-55. Routledge, New York.
  • Kim, Nam C. and Marc Kissel. 2018. Emergent Warfare in Our Evolutionary Past. Routledge, New York.
  • Kim, Nam C. Coercive Power and State Formation in Northern Vietnam. In Feast, Famine or Fighting? Multiple Pathways to Social Complexity, edited by Richard Chacon and Ruben Mendoza, pp. 165-196. Springer, New York.
  • Kissel, Marc and Nam C. Kim. 2017. How Culture Allows for War and Peace. Sapiens, November 16. (
  • Kim, Nam C. 2016. Matters of the past mattering today. Oxford University Press Blog post, July 22. (
  • Kim, Nam C. 2015. The Origins of Ancient Vietnam. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Kim, Nam C, Chapurukha Kusimba, and Lawrence Keeley. 2015. Coercion and Warfare in the Rise of State Societies in Southern Zambezia. African Archaeological Review 32(1), pp. 1-34.
  • Kim, Nam C. 2015. Ancient State Formation at the Southern Edge of Sinitic Civilization. Imperial China and Its Southern Neighbours, edited by Victor H. Mair and Liam C. Kelley, pp. 43-79. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore.
  • Kim, Nam C. 2015. Co Loa: A Site of Manifold Significance. In Arts du Vietnam: Nouvelles Approches, edited by Caroline Herbelin, Beatrice Wisniewski, and Francoise Dalex. Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, pp. 67-72.
  • Kim, Nam C. 2013. Cultural Landscapes of War and Political Regeneration. Asian Perspectives 52(2), pp. 244-267. (Appeared in 2015).
  • Kim, Nam C. 2013. Lasting monuments and durable institutions: Labor, urbanism, and statehood in northern Vietnam and beyond. Journal of Archaeological Research21(3), pp. 217-267.
  • Kim, Nam C. 2012. Angels, Illusions, Hydras, and Chimeras: Violence and Humanity. Book review essay of The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker and The Western Illusion of Human Nature by Marshall Sahlins. Reviews in Anthropology41(4), pp. 239-272.
  • Kim, Nam C, Lai Van Toi, and Trinh Hoang Hiep. 2010. Co Loa: An investigation of Vietnam’s ancient capital. Antiquity84, pp. 1011-1027.