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Ryan Ku

Visiting Assistant Professor

English Literature


  2. Phone: (610) 328-8152
  3. Lang Performing Arts Center 307
  4. Office Hours: TTh 2:30-3:30
Ryan Ku
Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, with a Critical Theory Certificate, University of California, Irvine, 2017

Inaugural Postdoctoral Associate, Asian American and Diaspora Studies, Duke University, 2018–2021

Scholarly Interests:
Ryan Ku works across Asian diasporic, Southeast Asian, and multiethnic American literatures after World War II in the context of history beyond boundaries. In his first book project, Imperial Wounds: Filipino/American Novels and Late Modernity, he reads ethnic American narratives with Filipino novels, thus as postcolonial texts. This integration is based on the Filipino’s “structurally queer” position as a subject that, in not fitting into the terms of minority multiculturalism, points instead to U.S. empire history as a traumatic foundation of ethnicity in the nation. More broadly, he is interested in narrative and media that index the nation’s internal contradictions with the transpacific scenes of liberal modernity. Cultivating a critical practice attentive to story, discourse, and context, he also treats reading as an opportunity to philosophize about language, knowledge, reality, temporality, and ecology. As a teacher, he aims to let students explore the world through texts, thereby know the other and the self. One of his courses, “Alternate War Histories of Asia/America,” is the starting point for a second book project.

“Southeast Asian Literature in English”
“Asian American Gender/Sexuality/Species”
"Alternate War Histories of Asia/America”
“Asian American Literature and Culture”


  • “Postcolonial Pharmakon: Traumatic Transmission in Tony Perez’s Cubao-Kalaw Kalaw-Cubao,” Kritika Kultura (February 2022), Ateneo de Manila University. (forthcoming)
  • “Gina Apostol,” The Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Fiction, edited by Patrick O’Donnell, Lesley Larkin, and Stephen Burn, 2021, John Wiley and Sons Ltd. (forthcoming)
  • “The Failure and Reality of Sublimation: Psychoanalytic Ontology and Revolution,” American Imago: Psychoanalysis and the Human Sciences 78, 1 (Spring 2021): 79–103, Johns Hopkins University Press,
  • Review of Kendall A. Johnson’s The New Middle Kingdom: China and the Early American Romance of Free Trade (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), Zhaoming Qian’s East-West Exchange and Late Modernism: Williams, Moore, Pound (University of Virginia Press, 2017), and Andrew C. McKevitt’s Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s America (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), American Literature 92, 2 (June 2020): 387–390, Duke University Press,