Location: Bowdoin / Belinda Kong


Belinda Kong

Associate Professor of Asian Studies and English

Contact Information


Massachusetts Hall - 209

Teaching this semester

ENGL 2755 / ASNS 2804. Asian America's Aging

Belinda Kong
Asian American literature is dominated by voices of youth: the child narrator and the bildungsroman genre have long been used by writers to tell not only personal coming-of-age stories but also that of Asian America itself, as a relative newcomer into the American nation-state and its cultural landscape. Focuses instead on the latecoming figure of the aged narrator in recent Asian American fiction, who constellates themes of dislocation and reclamation, memory, and the body rather than those of maturation and heritage. Explores old age as a vehicle for engaging contemporary issues of globalization and diaspora; historical trauma and cultural memory; life and biopolitics. Examines these works within the paradigm of transnational Asian America, which goes beyond the United States as geographical frame to shed light on the new diasporic identities and cultural politics emerging from twentieth-century global transits.

ENGL 3028 / ASNS 3801. Imagined Asias

Belinda Kong
Examines how Asia has been represented by America and Europe and how Asian authors have responded. Draws from a wide archive of literature, theory, film, and mass culture from mid-nineteenth century to the present. Not a survey: focus on case studies that explore historical exemplars of as well as conceptual alternatives to the critical model of orientalism, which regards western depictions of Asia as necessarily reflecting the culture of empire. Issues include US racial discourses of exoticism and the yellow peril; western modernist and postmodern appropriations of “oriental” cultures for self-critiques; and strategies of hybridity, self-orientalism, and occidentalism by Asian and Asian diasporic writers and filmmakers. Possible works by Edward Said, Pierre Loti, Bret Harte, Jack London, Winnifred Eaton, David Henry Hwang, Ezra Pound, Italo Calvino, Roland Barthes, Gayatri Spivak, Rey Chow, J. G. Ballard, Kazuo Ishiguro, Amitav Ghosh, Haruki Murakami, Bei Dao, Shan Sa, Su Tong, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai, and Stephen Chow.

Belinda Kong


  • Ph.D. in English Language and Literature,
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2005
  • M.A. in English Language and Literature,
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1999
  • B.A. in English and Philosophy,
    College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, 1998

Research and Teaching Interests

  • Chinese diaspora fiction; transnationalism and Asian American literature; theories of translation, race, displacement, and the human; theories of biopolitics



Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square: The Chinese Literary Diaspora and the Politics of Global Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press (Asian American History & Culture Series), 2012.

Journal Articles & Anthology Essays

“Guo Xiaolu and the Contemporary Chinese Anglophone Novel.” Oxford Handbook of Modern Chinese Literatures. Ed. Carlos Rojas and Andrea Bachner. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. (Forthcoming)

“Diasporic Exceptionality: Maxine Hong Kingston’s ‘The Brother in Vietnam’ and Ha Jin’s ‘A Good Fall.’” Between Worlds: An Anthology of Contemporary Fiction and Criticism. Ed. Deborah Poe and Ama Wattley. New York: Peter Lang, 2012. 203-214.

“In and Out of the Spectacle: The Beijing Olympics and Yiyun Li’s The Vagrants.Ariel 42.1 (2011): 107-128.

“Beyond K’s Specter: Chang-rae Lee’s A Gesture Life, Comfort Women Testimonies, and Asian American Transnational Aesthetics.” Journal of Transnational American Studies 3.1 (2011): 1-29.

“Monkey Remnants: Paternality, Ancestry, and Chineseness in Patricia Chao’s The Monkey King.” Myth and Violence in the Contemporary Female Text: New Cassandras. Ed. Sanja Bahun-Radunovic and V. G. Julie Rajan. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011. 37-54.

“Theorizing the Hyphen’s Afterlife in Post-Tiananmen Asian-America.” Modern Fiction Studies 56.1 (2010): 136-159.

“When Ghosts Dream: Immigrant Desire in Lan Samantha Chang’s Hunger.” Death in American Texts and Performances: Corpses, Ghosts, and the Reanimated Dead. Ed. Lisa K. Perdigao and Mark Pizzato. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010. 99-112.

“Shanghai Biopolitans: Wartime Colonial Cosmopolis in Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City and J. G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun.” Journal of Narrative Theory 39.3 (2009): 280-304.

“The Asian-American Hyphen Goes Gothic: Ghosts and Doubles in Maxine Hong Kingston and lê thi diem thúy.” Asian Gothic: Essays on Literature, Film and Anime. Ed. Andrew Hock Soon Ng. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008. 123-139.

“Traveling Man, Traveling Culture: Death of a Salesman and Post-Mao Chinese Theater.” Arthur Miller’s Global Theater. Ed. Enoch Brater. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007. 35-56.

Book Reviews, Encyclopedia Entries, and Pedagogy Essays

Review of Not Like a Native Speaker: On Languaging as a Postcolonial Experience, by Rey Chow. CLEAR: Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 37 (2015). (Forthcoming)

“Kingston, Maxine Hong.” The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies. Ed. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz. Vol. 1. Boston: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. (Forthcoming)

Review of Pluralist Universalism: An Asian Americanist Critique of U.S. and Chinese Multiculturalisms, by Wen Jin. American Studies 58 (2014): 222-223.

Review of Chinese Modernity and Global Biopolitics: Studies in Literature and Visual Culture, by Sheldon H. Lu. China Review International 18.4 (2013): 533-535.

“Hong Kong (Britain/China).” Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa: An Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. Ed. Edward Ramsamy, Andrea L. Stanton, Peter J. Seybolt, and Carolyn Elliott. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2012. 288-290.

“Teaching Contemporary Diaspora Fiction of the Nanjing Massacre in the Globalized Classroom.” Asia in the Classroom and the Academy: New Ideas in Scholarship and Teaching. Ed. Suzanne Wilson Barnett. (Submitted chapter for Luce Foundation Asian Studies Faculty Book)

"Anglophone Chinese Literature: The Case of Xiaolu Guo"
Remapping a Discipline: Modern Chinese Literary Literatures Conference (by invitation)
Duke University, Raleigh, NC. April.

"Fleshing Out the Future: Speculative Fictions of China's Biocapitalism in Chan Koonchung's The Fat Years and Xiaolu Guo's UFO in Her Eyes"
Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Conference (by invitation)
Philadelphia, PA. March.

Seminar organizer for "Asian Biocapitals"
"Theorizing Biocapital: Why Asia? Why Literature?"
American Comparative Literature Association (ASLA) Annual Conference
NYU, New York, NY. March.

"'American Asia' in Ha Jin's Nanjing Requiem: Asian American Literary Politics as Comparative Empire Studies"
Circle for Asian American Literary Studies (by invitation)
American Literature Association (ALA) Annual Conference
Boston, MA. May.

Seminar co-organizer for "Islands of Contention"
"Islands with No Texts: the Case of Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands"
American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Annual Conference
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. April.

"Playing Up the Past, Playing Down the Clock: Shanghai in Post-SARS Hong Kong Cinema"
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Annual Convention
Boston, MA. March.

Seminar co-organizer for "Discontemporaries: Turning Over and Overturning the Present"
"Crossed Objects Part 1: Timothy Mo's An Insular Possession"
Speaker for ACL(x) Session: "The 1980s" (by invitation)
American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Annual Conference
Brown University, Providence, RI. March.

"Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square: Ha Jin and the Cultural Politics of Diaspora Literature"
Global Asias 2 Conference: Futures of Asian/Asian American Studies (by invitation)
Penn State University, University Park, PA. November.

"Theorizing the Hyphen's Afterlife in Post-Tiananmen Asian-America"
Asian American Literature Division Panel (solicited participation)
Modern Language Association (MLA) 2009 Convention
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. December.

"The Cangue of Cosmopolitanism: Eileen Chang’s Self-Translations"
Seminar: Multilingual Modernisms
Modernist Studies Association (MSA) 11th Conference
Montreal, Quebec, Canada. November.

"Yiyun Li's Aging of Globalization"
American Literature Association (ALA) 20th Annual Conference
Boston, Massachusetts. May.

"Shanghai Biopolitans: Wartime Colonial Cosmopolis in Eileen Chang and J. G. Ballard"
American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Annual Conference   
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. March.

"The Afterlife of Polis: Walter Benjamin and the Chinese Diaspora"
Logics of the Living Conference
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

"Asian American Afterlife: Theorizing the Ethics of Diasporic Writing"
American Literature Association (ALA) 18th Annual Conference
Boston, Massachusetts

"Ghosts and Doubles: The Asian-American Hyphen Goes Gothic"
National Popular & American Culture Associations (PCA/ACA) Joint Conference
Boston, Massachusetts. April.

"Writing the Trauma of the Other in Chang-rae Lee's A Gesture Life"
Northeast Modern Language Association (NEMLA) Convention
Baltimore, Maryland. March.

"The Two Gaos: Exile, Recognition, and the Manufacture of Literary Identity."
At the Edge: Margins, Frontiers, Initiatives in Literature and Culture.
International Comparative Literature Association 17th Congress.
Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China.

"The Ecstasy of Diasporic Homecomings."
Imagining Diasporas: Space, Identity and Social Change Conference.
University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

"Ha Jin and the Gradient of Difference."
The University: 45th Annual Midwest Modern Language Association Convention.
Chicago, Illinois.

"Traveling Man, Traveling Culture: Arthur Miller and Death of a Salesman in Beijing."
Caribbean Crossings: American Comparative Literature Association Annual Conference.
Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico.