My work ranges through nineteenth and twentieth-century American literature and Asian American studies. In my monograph Invisible Subjects: Asian Americans in Postwar Literature (Oxford UP, 2016), I read texts by twentieth-century canonical American authors of different ethnicities through recent advances in Asian American studies and historiography. This critical lens allows me to interpret overlooked subtleties in the depiction of race in the American literary canon. Building on Ralph Ellison’s theories of invisibility in his famous novel Invisible Man, I show that Asian Americans demonstrate the fluidity and limitations of their available legal and social roles. I resituate several major authors (Ellison, Herman Melville, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck) amid the Asian American presence in their works and the dialogue of liberal individualism.
I have also recently published an edition of a memoir and correspondence of a Japanese American family from Hawai'i incarcerated during World War II (Taken from the Paradise Isle, UP Colorado, 2015) and have published essays on other aspects of the incarceration. Past projects have included work on Walt Whitman published in the Walt Whitman Quarterly Journal, and criticism and translation of Le Vieux Salomon, a transnational antislavery Louisiana Francophone novel from the nineteenth century (PMLA, May 2010). Currently, I am collaborating with a team of environmental and social scientists to help them shape narratives of food security in dryland west Africa, funded by an NSF grant, and working on a new monograph about illegal immigration in Cold War literature.
My teaching focuses on twentieth and twenty-first century American and comparative ethnic literature, though I also teach some contemporary British literature. I am always looking for ways to bring my students’ work into conversation with the campus and public. Some of my classes have created digital humanities exhibits of their research: see Letters from World War I, Studying Poston and The Chang and Eng Bunker Project.
Past and Current Teaching/Research Interests:
TAKEN FROM THE PARADISE ISLE is an intimate account of the Hoshidas, a Japanese American family from Hawai'i, who were incarcerated during WWII. This new volume from the University Press of Colorado features family members’ letters, diary, memoir, artwork, photos, and supplementary government documents and research from editor Heidi Kim. Foreword by Franklin Odo. From the Nikkei in the Americas series edited by Lane Hirabayashi.
For behind-the-scenes info, resources, and talk schedule, please like the book's Facebook page.
J. Carlyle Sitterson Freshman Teaching Award, 2014
CoLEAGS Faculty Mentor Award, 2016
Ph.D. and M.A. in English, Northwestern University
A.B. in Biochemical Sciences and Citation in French, Harvard University