Dissertation: "Imminent Communities: Transpacific Literary Form and Racialization, 1847-1920"

Committee: John Funchion, Director; Readers: Joel Nickels, Tim Watson, and Colleen Lye

My dissertation examines literary contestations of an imperial rhetoric I call Pacific Imminence

a ruse of American exceptionalism that framed U.S. Pacific ascendancy as an impending

development inaugurating global economic prosperity and a harmonious community of

humankind. Through the continental imaginary of Manifest Destiny, most Americanist

scholarship has viewed the Pacific as a peripheral site of empire-building in the long

nineteenth-century. By contrast, I argue that the Pacific uniquely catalyzed a globalist

re-branding of U.S. imperialism that American and East Asian writers resisted through fictional

forms. Such works undercut Pacific imminence by narrating the persistence of colonial


Recent presentations:

"Reading the Rizal: Transpacifc Literary History, Filipino Sailors, and the Longue Durée of U.S. Imperialism" at the BAA Summer Academy. DAI Amerika Haus, Nuremberg, Germany. 26 May 2017.