current research

I am currently investigating queer critique in the context of US, Japanese and other imperialisms in the transpacific. My dissertation-in-progress, entitled "Queering the Transpacific: Race and Sexuality across the US and Japanese Empires," takes an historical, literary and filmic approach to analyzing the intersection of Asian racialization and queer exclusion/inclusion in order to better elucidate the workings of 20th- and 21st-century empire. The project aims to contribute to critical race studies, queer studies and transpacific studies.

Visual culture is a secondary interest. In my article "Rethinking Yaoi on the Regional and Global Scale" (2015), I theorize the proliferation of yaoi or boys' love (a feminist-queer multimedia genre) in East Asia as gender/sexual equality has become a global bellwether for modernity.


As an instructor at the University of Washington, I've taught interdisciplinary writing, expository writing with a focus on Asian American literature and critical race theory, as well as a course titled "Afro Asia and US Multiculturalism." Students in this course engaged with Asian American and black internationalist literary texts to think through shifts in 20th-century racialization while paying particular attention to sites of interracial alliance.

past research

My earlier work engaged the intersection of US LGBT politics, identity and conservative religion, namely Mormonism, in the lead-up to the 2015 US legalization of same-sex marriage. In "Mormon and Queer at the Crossroads" (2011), published in the Mormon journal Dialogue, I turn to the insights of queer theorist Eve Sedgwick to 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) explains how US LGBT politicking through the state has been insufficient because civil rights as drawn up by the US state shore 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 LGBT rights in Utah to this effect.

© 2019 Alan Michael Williams