Get to know this year’s slate of incredible speakers.
Denise Khor is a media historian working on early cinema history, film preservation, and Asian American film and media culture. She is the author of Transpacific Convergences: Race, Migration and Japanese American Film Culture before World War II (University of North Carolina Press, 2022), which explores the historical experiences of Japanese Americans at the cinema and traces an alternative network of film production, circulation, and exhibition. Areas of research specialization include film and media history, early cinema, nontheatrical film, critical ethnic studies, and Asian American Studies.
She is jointly appointed in the Department of Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies (CSSH) and Department of Art + Design (CAMD), with a courtesy appointment in History. In 2019-2020, she was faculty fellow at Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. Prior to Northeastern, she was Associate Professor of American Studies at University of Massachusetts Boston.
She has published work in Film Quarterly, Pacific Historical Review, Southern California Quarterly, and The Rising Tide of Color: Race, State Violence, and Radical Movements Across the Pacific (edited by Moon Ho-Jung, 2014), among other publications. She is working on her next book project “The Invisible Hand: A History of Asian Americans in the Animation Industry.”
Monica Kim is a historian of the United States and international and diplomatic history. In her research and teaching, she focuses on three issues that have centrally informed the position of the United States vis-à-vis the decolonizing world during the twentieth century and beyond: the relationships between liberalism and racial formations, global militarism and sovereignty, and transnational political movements and international law.
Her scholarship analyzes a fundamental practice used by the United States during the era of formal decolonization in the global Cold War: wars of intervention. Her work aims to place US empire and warmaking within global processes of colonialism through unexpected sites of encounter like the military interrogation room. Her first book, The Interrogation Rooms of the Korean War: The Untold History, tells the story of the changing script of warfare in the mid-twentieth century through the war that was not an official war – the “police action” called the Korean War.
Professor Kim has won several awards for this book, including the Association for Asian American Studies Book Award for Outstanding Achievement in History, the Association for Asian Studies’ James B. Palais Book Prize, The Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize for Best First Book from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the Distinguished Book Award in U.S. History from the Society for Military History.
Professor Kim was also recently awarded a 2022 MacArthur Fellowship, an $800,000 grant that will go towards further research on the Korean War and her next book project.
In Professor Kim’s teaching, she is committed to exploring questions about social justice by connecting local and community politics to transnational and international geopolitics. She is much more interested in asking questions along with her students about U.S. empire, race, and decolonization from the “bottom-up,” with a focus on how more ordinary people challenged power, rather than focusing on the usual elite people in power. Her latest co-edited journal issue focused on “Policing, Justice, and the Radical Imagination” with Radical History Review.
Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu
Thuy Ling Nguyen Tu is Professor of American Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. She is the author of Experiments in Skin: Race and Beauty in the Shadows of Vietnam (Duke UP, 2021) and The Beautiful Generation: Asian Americans and the Cultural Economy of Fashion (Duke UP, 2011), as well as co-editor of the volumes, Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia, Alien Encounters: Popular Culture in Asian America, and Technicolor: Race and Technology in Everyday Life. Her work has explored the significance of aesthetics and race within different configurations of popular culture and historical imagination. Most recently, Professor Tu won the R.R. Hawkins prize from the Association of American Publishers for her book “Experiments in Skin” which links the history of warfare and beauty between the US and Vietnam.
Nitasha Tamar Sharma
Nitasha Tamar Sharma is a comparative race studies scholar who offers an interdisciplinary, comparative, and ethnographic approach to the study of difference, inequality, and racism. The central goal of her teaching, research, and writing is to contest interminority racisms by ethnographically detailing existing models of cross-racial solidarities among nonWhite groups. By highlighting historical crossovers, comparative or relational racialization, and expansive political orientations, Sharma’s work attempts to imagine liberated futures for all people.
Nitasha Sharma is the author of Hawai’i is my Haven: Race and Indigeneity in the Black Pacific (Duke University Press, August 2021). This ethnography is based on a decade of fieldwork including interviews with 60 people of African descent in the islands, including Black Hawaiians, Black Japanese, and African American transplants from the continental U.S. Two questions frame this project: What does the Pacific offer people of African descent? And how does the racial lens of African Americans illuminate inequalities, including anti-black racism, in the islands? Bringing Black Studies into conversation with Native Studies, it charts how Hawai‘i’s Black residents including Black hapas negotiate race, indigeneity, and culture. This work speaks to debates in Critical Mixed Race Studies, Comparative Race Studies, and Pacific Islands Studies to analyze Blackness in the Pacific and offer new theories of belonging that emerge from the intersection of race and indigeneity.
Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi
Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi is an assistant professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (Tovaangar). Her interdisciplinary research engages critical refugee studies, settler colonial studies, and transpacific studies. Dr. Gandhi’s first book, Archipelago of Resettlement: Vietnamese Refugee Settlers and Decolonization across Guam and Israel-Palestine (2022), is published open access by the University of California Press. It examines Vietnamese refugee resettlement in Guam and Israel-Palestine as a means to trace two forms of critical geography: first, archipelagos of empire — how the Vietnam War is linked to US military build-up in Guam and unwavering support of Israel; and second, corresponding archipelagos of resistance — how Chamorro decolonization efforts and Palestinian liberation struggles are connected via the Vietnamese refugee figure. This project analyzes what she calls the “refugee settler condition”: the vexed positionality of refugee subjects whose very condition of political legibility via citizenship is predicated upon the unjust dispossession of an Indigenous population.
She is also working on a second book-length project, Revisiting the Southern Question: South Korea, South Vietnam, and the US South, which asks: How were South Korea, South Vietnam, and the US South connected during the Cold War period? What are the political, cultural, and affective afterlives of these historical encounters? You can check out Dr. Gandhi’s films on Vimeo. She also hosts a podcast, Distorted Footprints, through her Critical Refugee Studies class.
Paula Chakravartty is associate professor at the Gallatin School and the Department of Media, Culture and Communication. Her research and teaching interests span comparative political economy, migration, labor and social movements, and decolonial and critical race theory.
Her books include Race, Empire and the Crisis of the Subprime (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), Media Policy and Globalization (Edinburgh University Press, 2006), and Global Communications: Towards a Transcultural Political Economy (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008). Recent publications include #CommunicationSoWhite (2018) in the Journal of Communication, and two special issues on “Mediatized Populisms: Inter-Asian Lineages” for the International Journal of Communication (December 2017) and “Infrastructures of Empire: Towards a Critical Geopolitics of Media and Information Studies” for Media, Culture and Society (2016).
Her current research focuses on racial capitalism and global media infrastructures, and migrant labor mobility and justice. Chakravartty is a member of the NYU Sanctuary Coalition. She serves on the executive board of the NYU Association for University Professors (AAUP), and is affiliated faculty at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, South Asia @ NYU, and the NYU Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. Chakravartty has just been named a James Weldon Johnson Professor by the Office of the Provost at NYU. This honor recognizes faculty whose scholarship has an impact in the areas of social justice, inequality, and criminal justice reform. In addition to the title, Chakravartty will receive research funding for over three years.