Visiting Assistant Professor
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
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, https://doi.org/10.1353/aim.
- 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, https://doi.org/10.1215/