Steering Committee

Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He is author of Writing the South Seas: Imagining the Nanyang in Chinese and Southeast Asian Postcolonial Literature (U of Washington Press, 2015 / National U of Singapore Press, 2016) and coeditor (with Shu-mei Shih and Chien-hsin Tsai) of Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader (Columbia U Press, 2013). His articles have also appeared in several journals, including positions: asia critique, Asian Cinema, Postcolonial Studies, and Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. He is currently working on a manuscript on inter-Asian cinema from the perspective of contemporary labor migration, popular culture exchange, and tourism.

Professor of Anthropology and Religion. Her books include The Divine Eye and the Diaspora: Vietnamese Syncretism Becomes Transpacific Caodaism (2015, University of Hawaii Press), The Play of Time: Kodi Perspectives on History, Calendars and Exchange (1996 University of California, Benda Prize in Southeast Asian Studies, Association of Asian Scholars), and Biographical Objects: How Things Tell the Stories of People’s Lives (1998 Routledge). She is the contributing editor of four books: Transpacific Studies: Framing an Emerging Field (with Viet Thanh Nguyen, University of Hawaii 2014), Headhunting and the Social Imagination in Southeast Asia (1996), A Space Between Oneself and Oneself: Anthropology as a Search for the Subject (1999) and Fragments from Forests and Libraries (2001). She served as President of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion from 2011-13, and has produced three ethnographic documentaries, including “The Left Eye of God: Caodaism Travels from Vietnam to California”, as well as two which deal with Sumba, eastern Indonesia: “Feast in Dream Village” and “Horses of Life and Death”. All of her documentaries are distributed by DER | Documentary Educational Resources.

University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and American Studies and Ethnicity. He is the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (Oxford University Press, 2002) and the co-editor of Transpacific Studies: Framing an Emerging Field (University of Hawaii Press, 2014). His novel The Sympathizer (Grove Press, 2016) is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as other numerous awards. His book Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War from Harvard University Press (2016), was also award-winning. His current book is the bestselling short story collection The Refugees from Grove Press (2017). Many of his articles, which have appeared in numerous journals and books, can be downloaded here. Nguyen is a MacArthur Fellow (2018-2022), and he has also received residencies, fellowships, scholarships and grants from various foundations, programs, and libraries, including the Luce Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council, and more. In his spare time, he co-directs the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, edits diaCRITICS, a blog on Vietnamese and diasporic Vietnamese arts and culture, and writes for Time, The Guardian, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times, where he is a contributing opinion writer. His next book is the edited anthology The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives (Abrams, 2018).

Adrian De Leon is an Assistant Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, where he serves on the steering committee of the Center for Transpacific Studies.


Research Program

Through a multi-sited archival and ethnographic analysis of the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora, De Leon’s research program investigates the myriad ways that global capitalism reorganizes social difference through its regimes of resource extraction and labor mobilization.

To this end, he is at work on two scholarly monographs. The first, Forging Filipinos: A Native History of an American Diaspora, shows how the Spanish and European 19th century mobilization of a native labor force in Luzon’s native lowlands and highlands people fomented the formation of Filipino ethnic identity in the early 20th century American empire.

The second, Pinoy John Waynes: A Political History of Filipino Masculinities on the American Frontier, centers rural vagrancy and settler colonialism in the creation of Filipino migrant men’s community cultures in the American West.

These titles are the first two instalments of a planned trilogy on insurgent histories of Filipino America.

Creative Writing Program

Adrian De Leon’s first poetry collection, Rouge, was published by Mawenzi House in 2018. With fellow Scarborough-based writers Téa Mutonji (Shut Up, You’re Pretty, April 2019) and Natasha Ramoutar (Bittersweet, 2020), he is a co-editor of FEEL WAYS (2020), a pioneering anthology of emerging Scarborough writers. His second forthcoming collection, barangay, explores Filipino kinship (called a barangay, which is also an outrigger boat native to the archipelago) through the coasts and slopes of Scarborough’s southern coast, and beyond into the Pacific.

Other selections appear in The Puritan (2019), Canadian Literature (2020), and Joyland Magazine (forthcoming 2020).

With Dorinne Kondo (American Studies & Ethnicity and Anthropology), Adrian De Leon is a co-founder and co-convenor of the transdisciplinary research cluster, Creativity, Theory, Politics.