I teach classes for the Literature and Ethnic Studies Departments at the University of California, San Diego.  In 2015-16, I taught and served as Interim Director for UCSD Sixth College's Culture, Art, and Technology Writing (CAT) Program. My courses focus on culture, science, technology and social movements, especially science fiction and allied forms of speculative popular culture, from the late 18th century to the present. 

I received my PhD in English from UC Berkeley, where I specialized in nineteenth-century US literature, with a particular interest in archival work on popular fiction, working-class culture, dime novels, and canonical authors such as Herman Melville, Mary Shelley, and Henry David Thoreau. In the 1990s and early 2000s, much of my teaching connected city to empire in earlier periods of US history and made the case for the significance of the US-Mexico War and empire-building in Mexico and the Americas to US class and racial formations. Over the course of my career, I have taught a wide range of classes on nineteenth- and twentieth-century canonical and non-canonical US literature as well as other cultural forms, especially visual culture.

 I also lead classes on class and racial formations in the United States in connection to histories of colonialism, empire, and transnationalism from above and below. As well, the cultural politics of places and spaces, particularly the US-Mexico borderlands; Los Angeles, San Diego, and greater Southern California; the Pacific Northwest; and 1880s-1930s Chicago and New York City are important to my teaching. 

I regularly offer graduate seminars on a variety of research methodologies, including literary and cultural analysis as well as archival, Ethnic Studies, and Digital Humanities research. In 2005-2006, I received the Chancellor's Associates Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. I have served on the committees of more than eighty PhD and MFA students who have completed their degrees, chairing and co-chairing many. I am proud to say many of my former students are enjoying notable careers teaching and doing important research at colleges and universities across the nation and throughout the world.  They also work as labor organizers, library archivists, and independent writers. 

Selected Undergraduate Classes 

Race, Gender, Sexuality, Science Fiction 

Culture, Art, Technology (CAT) 3: World-Making and Imagining the Future in 2066

Shaping Climate Change

US-Mexico Border in Comparative Perspective 

Early Science Fiction

Methods for Interdisciplinary Research

Violence and Visual Culture 

Dimensions of Culture (DOC) 3: Imagination, Memory, and Culture 

Working-Class California 

Introduction to the Literature of the United States 

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Selected Graduate Classes 

Social Movements and Culture

Science Fictions of Sexuality, Gender, and Race: Beyond the Time-Space of Neoliberalism

Research Projects in Ethnic Studies: Interdisciplinary Intersections 

Transnationalism and Borderlands

US Wars and Cultural Memory

Research Projects in American Studies: Archives and Culture 

Popular Culture and Pedagogy 

PhD Students who have completed their degree programs:


1. Omayra Cruz (2004):  “Toward a Post-Nationalist Articulation of Racial Consciousness, 1884-1937.”

2. Hellen Lee-Keller (2006): "Working Matters: Women's Work and Culture in the United States, 1868-1898." Associate Professor, English Department, California State University, Sacramento.

3. Elizabeth Steeby (2008): “Plantation States: Region, Race, and Sexuality in the Cultural Memory of the U.S. South, 1900-1945.” Associate Professor, English Department, University of New Orleans.

4. Shih-Szu Hsu (2008): “Manifest Destiny in Times of Love and War: Gender, Race, Nation, and Empire in the works of Louisa May Alcott, María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Gertrude Atherton, and Pauline Hopkins.” Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Chiao Tung University.

5. Kyla Schuller (2009): “Sentimental Science and the Literary Cultures of Proto Eugenics.” Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

6. Aimee Bahng (2009): “Speculative Acts: The Cultural Labors of Science, Fiction, and Empire.” Assistant Professor, English Department, Dartmouth College.

7. Melissa Hidalgo (2011): “Schooling La Raza: A Chicana/o Cultural History of Education, 1968-2008.” Assistant Professor of English and World Literature, Pitzer College.

8. Adam Lewis (2011): “Naturalizing Empire: Citizenship, Sovereignty, and Antebellum American literature. Barra Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and Assistant Professor, English Department, Boston College.

9. Jade Hidle, (2014) Ph.D. Oral Examination and Dissertation Committee: “Bringing out the Vietnamese in Me:  The Politics of Genre and Embodied Histories in Contemporary Vietnamese American Culture.” Assistant Professor Mira Costa College

10. Stacey Trujillo (2016), Ph.D. Oral Examination and Dissertation Committee: “The Elite Domestic Sphere: Identity, Memory and Nostalgia in Literatures of U.S. Empire.” Assistant Professor, English Department, Palomar College


11. Molly Rhodes (1997): “Doctoring Culture: Literary Intellectuals, Psychology and Mass Culture in the Twentieth-Century United States.”

12. Ona Russell (1998): “Discourses of Crossing: Reconceptualizing Representation in the Nineteenth-Century United States, 1840-1900.”

13. Desiree Henderson (2001): “Mourning America: Literature and the Politics of Death, 1765-1865.” Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Texas, Arlington.

14. Yu-Fang Cho (2004): “Narratives of Coupling in the Shadow of Manifest Domesticity: Transnational Politics of U.S. Cultures of Benevolence, 1890s-1910s.” Associate Professor of English and Women’s Studies, Miami University of Ohio.

15. Gabriela Nuñez (2007): “Investigating La Frontera: Transnational Space in Contemporary Chicana/o and Mexican Detective Fiction.” Assistant Professor, Chicana and Chicano Studies, California State University, Fullerton.

16. Jake Mattox (2007): “Alternate Imperialisms in the Age of Manifest Destiny.” Associate Professor, English Department, Indiana University, South Bend.

17. Margaret Fajardo (2007): “Comparing War Stories: Literature by Vietnamese Americans, U.S.-Guatemalans, and Filipino Americans.”

18. Benjamin Balthaser (2010): “’I Hear Foundations Shaking’:  Transnational Modernism from the Great Depression to the Cold War.” Assistant Professor, Indiana University, South Bend.

19. Andrew Escudero (2012). "Exhuming Caliban : Gothic and Madness in Late Twentieth and Twenty-First -Century Caribbean Literary Fictions.”

20. Lauren Chase Smith (Summer 2012), ““Diversions of Progress: Popular Culture and Visions of Modernity in the Transpacific Borderlands.” Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Humanities at the University of California, Los Angeles.

21. Joo-Ok Kim (2013): “Untelling the Tales of Empire: Intimate Epistemologies of the Korean War.” Assistant Professor of Latina/o Studies. American Studies Department, Kansas University

22. Lauren Heintz (2015), Ph.D. Oral Examination and Dissertation Committee: ‘She Passed Down Orleans Street, A Polished Dandy’: Queer Desire, Kinship, and the Temporal Frame in the Antebellum United States.” Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Tulane University.

23. Chris Perreira (2015), Ph.D. Oral Examination and Dissertation Committee: “Empires of Disease: Criminal Encounters, Contagion, and Nation in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century U.S. Literature and Culture” (2015). Assistant Professor of Latina/o Studies, American Studies Department, Kansas University

24. Ashvin Kini (2016), Dissertation Committee and Ph.D. Oral Examination Committee: “Racial Encounters: Queer Afflilations in Black and South Asian Diasporas”

Committee Member

25. Ed Cutler (1997): “Configurations of Modernity: 1850's New York and the Emergence of Temporal Aesthetics.” Associate Professor, English Department, Brigham Young University.

26. Min-Jung Kim (1999): “Renarrating the Private: Gender, Family, and Race in Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison.” Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.

27. Kim Hester Williams (1999): “(Re) making Freedom: Representation and the African American Modernist Text.” Associate Professor and Chair, Department of English, Sonoma State University.

28. Susan Kalter (1999):  “Keep these words until the stones melt: Language, Ecology, War and the Written Land in Nineteenth-Century U.S.-Indian Relations.” Associate Professor, Department of English, Illinois State University, Normal.

29. Grace Hong (2000): “The Histories of the Propertyless: The Literatures of U.S. Women of Color.” Professor, Asian American Studies and Women’s Studies, University of California, Los Angeles.

30. Samantha Goldstein (2000):  “’Don't mind me, I'll just sit here in the dark’: Illuminating the Role of Women in Catskills Performative Culture.”

31. Saundra Liggins (2002): “Authoring the Gothic: The Gothic Tradition of African American Literature.” Associate Professor, English Department, Fredonia University.

32 Helen Jun (2003): “Race for Citizenship: Asian American and African American Cultural Politics.” Associate Professor, English Department, University of Illinois, Chicago.

33 Demian Pritchard (2003): “Policing the Border: Politics and Place in the Work of Miguel Méndez, Marisela Norte, and Leslie Marmon Silko.”

34. Kathy Glass (2004): “Courting Communities: Black Female Activism in the Nineteenth-Century North, 1830-1892.” Assistant Professor, English Department, Duquesne University.

35. Neda Atanasoski (2005): “Racial Orientations: U.S. Nationalism and the Production of Eastern Europe in the Mapping of the Free World.” Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz.

36. Esther Lezra (2005): “Looking for Monsters: Mechanisms of History, Mechanisms of Power.” Assistant Professor, Program for Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara.

37. Sangeeta Mediratta (2005): “Bazaars, Cannibals, and Sepoys: Sensationalism and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Britain and the United States.”

38. Randall Williams (2006): "Appealing Subjects: Reading Across the International Division of Justice."

39 Jinah Kim (2006): "U.S. Racial Imaginaries." Assistant Director and Lecturer, Asian American Studies Program, Northwestern University.

40. Chong Chon Smith (2006): "Asian American and African American Masculinities: Race, Citizenship, and Culture on Past Civil Rights." Assistant Professor, Department of English, Hunter College.

41. Kulvinder Arora (2006):  “Assimilation and its Counter-Narratives: Twentieth-Century European and South Asian Immigrant Narratives to the United States.” Visiting Assistant Professor, Gender and Women's Studies, University of Illinois, Chicago.

42 Irene Mata (2007): “Re-thinking the Immigrant Narrative in a Global Perspective: Representations of Labor, Gender and Immigration in Contemporary Cultural Productions.” Associate Professor in Chicana/Latina Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College.

43. Emily Cheng (2007): “Sentimental Journey: Transnational Adoption from China and Post-World War II U.S. Liberalism.” Carolina Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

44. Heidi Hoechst (2008): “Refusable Pasts: Speculative Democracy, Spectator Citizens, and the Dislocation of Freedom in the United States.” Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University in Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and English.

45. Neel Ahuja (2008): “Cultures of Quarantine: Race, U.S. Empire, and the Biomedical Discourse of National Security, 1893-1960.” Assistant Professor, English Department, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

46. Junghyun Hwang (2008): “Specters of the Cold War in America's Century: The Korean War and Transnational politics of National Imaginaries in the 1950s.”

47. Martha Gonzales (2009): “Mapping Transnational Affinities in Late Twentieth Century Xicana and American Indian Women’s Literature.”

48. Leslie Hammer (2009): “Transnational Sentimentalism In Mid- To Late-Nineteenth-Century US Literature.”

49. Paige Ann Prindle (2009): “Publishing, Property, and Problematic Heiresses: Representations of Inheritance in Nineteenth-Century American Women's Popular Fiction.”

50. Jason Crum (2009): “Complex Harmonies: United States Radio Culture, Modern Literature, and National Identity, 1919-1945.”

51 Jeff Gagnon (2012): “(Re)creating Social Life Out of Social Death: Cross-Cultural Alliances in the Circum-Atlantic, 1760-1815”

52. Lisa Thomas (2012): “Exceptional Vengeance: Revenge and the Rule of Law in Nineteenth-Century American Literature”

53. Edward Avila (2012): “Conditions of (Im)possibility: Necropolitics, Neoliberalism, and the Cultural Politics of Death in Contemporary Chicana/o Film and Literature.” Assistant Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Science, Eastern New Mexico University

54. Andrea Dominguez (2012): “Mysteries of the City: The Racial Uncanny in the American West.”

55. Ma Vang (2012): “Displaced Histories: Refugee Critique and the Politics of Hmong American Remembering,” University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow

56. Reece Peck (2012): "Fox Populism in the Great Recession." Assistant Professor, Media and Culture, College of Staten Island

57. Linda Torres (2013). The Unsung Stream: The Ethnic Continuum in U.S. Literature and Film, fromJohn Rollin Ridge to John Sayles”

58. Lauren Berliner (2013): ”Making it Better: LGBT Youth and New Media Production,” AssistantProfessor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Bothell

59. Anita Huizar-Hernandez (2013): “The Present Past: Recovering Native American, Mexican-American, and Anglo Narratives of Territorial Arizona 1848-1912.” Assistant Professor, Spanish Department, University of Arizona

60. Gabriela Cazares (2014): “Making Familia from Scratch: U.S. Latina/o Narratives of Rupture and Resistance.”

61. Viridiana Dominguez (2014), “Cocopah Identity Survival  "We Are The River People"

62. Soren Froehlich (2014):  “Blood of a Nation: Politics, Medicine, and Race in U.S. Literature, 1848-1903”

63. Cutler Edwards (2015): “Styles of Struggle: Community Organizing, Youth Culture, and Radical Politics in New York City, 1968-1981”

64. Josen Diaz (2015): “Ordering Chaos: The Filipino Laboring Body and the Cold War Makings of Filipino America.” Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies, University of San Diego.

65. Clare Rolens (2015): “Criminal Passing: Intersections of Class, Consumer Culture, and Gender in American Crime Fiction, 1940-1960.” Assistant Professor, English Department, Palomar College

66. Bernadine Hernandez (2015): “Sexing Empire: The Ontology of Racialized Gender and Sexuality in the Hemispheric Southwest through Mexican American and Chicana Narrative.” Assistant Professor, English Department, University of New Mexico.

67. Laurel Friedman (2016): “Control, Cure, and Prevention: Situating Global Response to Tuberculosis in San Diego County.”

M.F.A. Students

68. Tina Hyland (2016): “The Technoshaman’s Grimoire”

69. Pepe Rojo (2016): “Disinte Greetings”

70. Marco Huerta (2017), “A Thousand Birds Chirping Out of Nowhere: A Memoir”