Cynthia Wu
Office: 1009 Clemens Hall
Telephone:  (716)  645-0825

Cynthia Wu specializes in Asian American and critical ethnic studies, U.S. literatures after 1865, disability studies, and queer of color analysis. She is the author of Chang and Eng Reconnected: The Original Siamese Twins in American Culture (Temple, 2012). Currently, she is at work on two projects—one on intraracial same-sex desire in Asian American literature and the other on the U.S. military in the Asian American imagination. Excerpts from these manuscripts have appeared in Amerasia Journal, Meridians, and Signs.

In addition to her scholarly work, Wu has written for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She has held leadership positions in the Association for Asian American Studies, the Modern Language Association, and the Society for Disability Studies. She has served on the editorial boards of Disability Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Asian American Studies, and Text and Performance Quarterly. She is a past recipient of the Milton Plesur Excellence in Teaching Award at the University at Buffalo, and she credits her students with keeping her desire for learning strong.

In the past, Wu has worked as contingent faculty, student affairs staff, and academic support staff.  Prior to academia, she did HIV outreach in Asian American communities and cultural history museum work. She got her start teaching at New Jersey SEEDS, a program that provides an accelerated curriculum for high-achieving 7th- and 8th-graders at underfunded public schools.


Ph.D. in American Culture, University of Michigan (2004) M.A. in English, University of Michigan (1997) B.A. in English, Bryn Mawr College (1995)



Sticky Rice: A Politics of Intraracial Desire. Philadelphia: Temple University Press (under contract).

Chang and Eng Reconnected: The Original Siamese Twins in American Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2012.  (Honorable mention, Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize, American Studies Association)

Edited Volumes

Cynthia Wu and Kritika Agarwal, eds. and intro. “Debt: The Cultural Logics of Owing/Owning.” Journal of Asian American Studies 18.1 (February 2015).

Jennifer C. James and Cynthia Wu, eds. and intro. “Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Literature: Intersections and Interventions.” MELUS 31.3 (Fall 2006). 

Recent Articles and Book Chapters (Refereed)

“Asian International Students at U.S. Universities in the Post-2008 Collapse Era.” In Flashpoints for Asian American Studies.  Ed. Cathy Schlund-Vials.  New York: Fordham University Press (forthcoming 2017).

“A Comparative Analysis of Indigenous Displacement and the World War II Japanese American Internment.” Amerasia Journal 42.1 (2016): 1-15.

“Distanced from Dirt: Transnational Vietnam in the U.S. South.” south: a scholarly journal 48.2 (Spring 2016): 170-183.

Cathy Schlund-Vials and Cynthia Wu. “Rethinking Embodiment and Hybridity: Mixed Race, Adoptee, and Disabled Subjectivities.”  In The Cambridge Companion to Asian American Literature. Eds. Daniel Y. Kim and Crystal Parikh.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.  197-211.

“Asian American Feminism’s Alliances with Men: Reading Hisaye Yamamoto’s ‘Seventeen Syllables’ as an Antidraft Tract.”  Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 39.2 (Winter 2014): 323-339. (Co-winner, Florence Howe Award, Modern Language Association)

“Synchronic/Diachronic: Flexible Historicities in Hisaye Yamamoto’s Nonfiction.”  LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory 25.1 (Winter 2014): 57-72.

“‘Give Me the Stump Which Gives You the Right to Hold Your Head High’: A Homoerotics of Disability in Asian Americanist Critique.” Amerasia Journal 39.1 (2013): 3-16.

Shorter Essays and Chapters (Non-Refereed)

“State Violence Is Chronic.” Journal of Asian American Studies 20.1 (June 2017): 295-297.

“The Emotional Cost of Diversity Work in the Academy.” Asian American Literary Review 7.2 (Fall/Winter 2016): 40-42.

“Disability.” In Keywords for Asian American Studies.  Eds. Cathy Schlund-Vials, Linda Trinh Võ, K. Scott Wong.  New York: New York University Press, 2015.  55-56.


“Welcome the Immigrant, but Also Welcome the Refugee.” The Public 24 February 2017: n. pag. <>.

“Tenured and Happy.” Inside Higher Ed 30 March 2015: n. pag.  <>.

“Publish a Book, Eat Cake.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 10 September 2013: n. pag.  <>.

“A Small Act of Resistance.” Avidly: A Los Angeles Review of Books Channel 19 March 2013: n. pag.  <>.

“Who’s the Dope?” Avidly: A Los Angeles Review of Books Channel 27 August 2012: n. pag.  <>.

Blog Essays

“The Mattering of Black Lives for Non-Black People of Color.”  Web blog post. Reappropriate, 14 July 2016.  Web.  14 July 2016.  <>.

“Your First Year on the Tenure Track.” Web blog post. Modern Language Association Commons, 6 May 2015.  Web.  6 May 2015.  <>.



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