work in progress

My research deploys queer and critical race critique to thinking about the inter-imperial transpacific. I'm currently revamping my dissertation, Queering the Transpacific: Race and Sexuality across the U.S. and Japanese Empires (2020), into a book manuscript. The project, which sources from Asian American and Ethnic studies, Asian studies and Queer studies, utilizes historical, literary and filmic approaches to analyze the intersection of transpacific racialization and queer exclusion/inclusion in order to better elucidate the workings of 19th- to 21st-century empire.

As scaffolding projects, I'm preparing a chapter on colonial modernity, focused on the long 19th century, for a forthcoming Oxford Handbook on LGBTQ history. I'm also completing an essay that thinks through W. E. B. Du Bois' notion of a "color line within a color line" in the contexts of both the transwar transpacific and the present transition from U.S. global dominance.

completed research

Queer visual culture has been another interest. In my article "Rethinking Yaoi on the Regional and Global Scale" (2015), I theorize the proliferation of yaoi or Boys' Love media (a feminist-queer multimedia genre) in East Asia as gender/sexual equality has become a global bellwether in late modernity.

My earlier work engaged the intersection of U.S. LGBTQ politics, identity and conservative religion, namely Mormonism, in the lead-up to the 2015 U.S. legalization of same-sex marriage. In "Mormon and Queer at the Crossroads" (2011), published in the Mormon journal Dialogue, I analyze paradigm shifts in Mormon discourse on homosexuality and gender from the 1950s to the 2000s. My editorial piece, "The Curious Case of Mormons and LGBT Rights" (2013) contends with how civil rights politicking has been insufficient because of how the U.S. state shores up difference in the interests of private property, including for spheres in which same-sex intimacy is a "sin." The Mormon Church has successfully experimented with civil rights to this effect.


As an instructor in the University of Washington's Department of English, I teach both content and expository writing courses with themes of Asian American literature, theory, and U.S. racialization in a transpacific context. I also teach interdisciplinary writing in the humanities and social sciences.

© 2021 Alan Williams