Individual Research

Book manuscript in progress: Global Temp: The Culture of Temporariness in Global Cities

Global Temp, revises my dissertation to respond to the recent call of recent postcolonial and Asian Studies scholars to decenter the globe from the West and to “pluralize Asia” through comparative scholarship. My intention is to destabilize the West and non-West binaries by reading Dubai, Los Angeles, and Ho Chi Minh City as Asian or Asian Pacific cities that are linked by larger global and cultural connections. The comparative work is further performed in comparative media analysis by reading disparate media (including official state websites, NGO and state publications, films, novels, and electronic literature) while integrating the methods and theories of humanities scholarship with sociological and anthropological study. Despite their distinct colonial and postcolonial histories, these cities each emerge as important sites of contestation: they are nodes where concentrations of capital and promise draw multitudes of minor communities who come in search of economic opportunity promised by neoliberalism and globalization. This book archives a diverse body of texts from different geographic sites to open up possibilities for the otherwise subaltern, problematizing traditional notions of authorship and power. This body of texts is used to argue that the voices articulating the subjective register of temporariness are dialogic: the texts by so-called “global elites” are not necessarily utopian nor do they all celebrate globalization and transnationalism, and texts by and about precarious global laborers do not necessarily depict them as always exploited and dispossessed.

The book will have a similar structure to the dissertation, and will include additional interviews with artists and community members who are responsible for producing some of the texts examined in the city-specific chapters.  These interviews will be interspersed between the chapters.

Dissertation: “Host & Server: The Cultural Production of Temporariness in Global Cities.”

“Host  & Server” traces the contemporary shift away from the permanent and the national toward the temporary and transnational in the global cities of Dubai, Los Angeles, and Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon. I use the term temporariness to conceptualize the growing phenomena of provisional labor and transitory migration that corresponds with the increase of multi-national and transnational corporations in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The temporariness of life for workers in neoliberal networks of trade and governance benefit some while disenfranchising others, and the distribution of benefit is often divided along hemispheric, national, racial, and gendered lines. Such differences make themselves visible in the attendant multimedia texts that emerge alongside these developments. The objective is to ponder the dangers of increased temporariness as a global experience that obtains across transnational sites, and consider what role cultural texts play in modulating this experience. Drawing from comparative literary and media studies, migration and labor studies, and network studies, “Host & Server” examines the varied experiences of temporariness manifest in literature, film, and digital media. The intent is to bring transregional and multimedia humanistic inquiry to textual studies of global cities. This perspective will bring an added element of the human and the artistic that is seldom the primary concern of studies about migrant populations, mobility, or labor.

GlobalTemp, Online archive of Temporariness

GlobalTemp archives media related to temporariness in labor, migration, and life at large. GlobalTemp is not-for profit and open access. All media not marked as “original art” is owned by the original author/artist and linked to the original source.

Collaborative Endeavors:

FemTechNet Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Pedagogy Workbook, FemTechNet

#transformDH, Transformative Digital Humanities

DigLibArts Zotero Library, Whittier Digital Liberal Arts

Race, Ethnicity, and Diaspora in the Digital Age, Co-hosted HASTAC forum

Research Reports for UC Transliteracies Project:


World Cat Identities

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