Sunny Xiang

Sunny Xiang's picture
Assistant Professor of English

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2014B.A., Northwestern University, 2006

I (she/her/hers) am an assistant professor of English and affiliate professor of Ethnicity, Race, and Migration. My teaching and research focus on Asian American and Asian diasporic literature and culture, and I have a special interest in Anglo-American genealogies of war, militarism, and imperialism in Asia and the Pacific.

My book manuscript Tonal Intelligence: The American Cold War in Asia (under contract with Columbia University Press) studies a war predicated on racial suspicion, fought through racial intelligence, and preoccupied with racial intelligibility. In treating the Cold War in Asia as a historiographic problem rather than a historical event, Tonal Intelligence models an alternate approach to periodization. This approach entails tracking race’s inexplicit and unverifiable manifestations—its tonal expressions—across wide-ranging primary sources (field notes, interrogation reports, memoirs, novels, poems, experimental media).

Writing Tonal Intelligence has made me realize that the transpacific Cold War has much more to teach us about historiographic method, archival practices, print culture, and racial, sexual, and colonial governance. My future research explores what archives and objects come to the fore when we conceive of the Cold War not through origins and conclusions but through a flat and expansive middle with tapering ends.

Selected Publications

- “The Korean Voice of American Empire: ‘Another Dimension’ of the Democratic Spokesman and the Model Minority Narrator,” Journal of Asian American Studies, 17.3 (October 2014)


ENGL 127: Readings in American Literature