Cathy J. Schlund-Vials

Professor, English and Asian/Asian American Studies. Storrs.
Director, The Asian and Asian American Studies Institute.

Specialties: 20th-Century US literature, multi-ethnic literature, nationalism, trauma, human rights, memory studies, immigrant/refugee narratives, Asian American studies, American cultural studies, and comparative ethnic studies

Current Research: Prosthetic Ecologies: Disability, Environment, and Human Rights  (monograph) examines the role disability plays in the making of neoliberal humanitarian subjects; such subjects, I contend, are necessarily situated in catastrophic environs formed in the troubling aftermaths of war, natural disaster, and economic crisis. To access the various man-made mechanisms responsible for bringing these disabled subjects “into being,” I strategically utilize a schema I term “prosthetic ecologies.” Suggestive of human-made substitution and reparative embodiment, prosthesis, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, refers to “the replacement of defective or absent parts of the body by artificial substitutes.” Alternatively, the term ecology compresses a subfield of biology primarily concerned with the study of relationships, specifically between organisms and with the physical environment. Taken together, “prosthetic ecologies” operates as a flexible and generative analytic upon which to syncretically chart longue durée histories of state-sanctioned violence, state-authorized violation, and internationally-supported contravention.

A second monograph, titled Militarized Excess, examines the pervasiveness of and excesses inherent in American military culture during the second Indochina War, the Iraq War, and the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Clustered around various types of “sight” – inclusive of the vertical, the horizontal, the vertiginous, and the peripheral – Militarized Excess evaluates different temporalities (e.g., the military timetable, tours of duty, generational passages, and geologic time) and engages the sublime, an aesthetic mode which encapsulates the seemingly incalculable, the distressingly overwhelming, and the troublingly vast.

Published Monographs and Collections: Modeling Citizenship: Jewish and Asian American Writing (Temple University Press 2011); War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work (University of Minnesota Press 2012); Disability, Human Rights, and the Limits of Humanitarianism (co-edited with Michael Gill, Ashgate 2014); Keywords for Asian American Studies (co-edited with Linda Trinh Vo and  K. Scott Wong, NYU Press 2015); Interrogating the Perpetrator: Violation, Culpability, and Human Rights (co-edited with Samuel Martinez, Routledge 2016); and Asian America: A Primary Source Reader (co-edited with K. Scott Wong and Jason O. Chang, Yale University Press 2017).

Works in Progress:  Flashpoints for Asian American Studies (edited collection, forthcoming, Fordham University Press); Redrawing the Historical Past: History, Memory, and Multiethnic Graphic Narrative (co-edited collection with Martha J. Cutter, forthcoming, University of Georgia Press); Asian American Literature in Transition, 1965-1996 (co-edited collection with Asha Nadkarni); Teaching Asian America: Politics, Pedagogy, and Practice (co-edited collection with Jennifer Hayashida); and The Subjects of Human Rights: Critical Asian and Asian American Studies (co-edited collection with Guy Beauregard and Hsiu-chuan Lee).

View Cathy Schlund-Vials’s Faculty Bookshelf

CV