As an interdisciplinary scholar of early American, British, and European literatures and history, Prof. Johnson researches material print culture in a transnational and global historical frame. Prior to joining the University of Hong Kong, he was an Associate Professor of Early American Literature at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania. He was a Fulbright Visiting Associate Professor in American Studies at The University of Hong Kong for the 2008‐2009 academic year. After joining HKU he served as the Director the American Studies Programme (2010-2014) and the Head of the School of Modern Languages and cultures (2011-2017). His most recent single‐authored book is The New Middle Kingdom: China and the Early American Romance of Free Trade (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017). Other publications include Henry James and the Visual (Cambridge University Press, 2007; 2011), Narratives of Free Trade in Early US-China Relations (Hong Kong University Press, 2010; contributing editor), the Critical Companion to Henry James (FactsOnFile 2009, with Eric L. Haralson) and several essays on Native American literature, among them "Imagining Self and Community in Native American Autobiography" in *The Columbia Guide to American Indian Literatures of the United States Since 1945* (Columbia University Press 2006; edited by Eric Cheyfitz). His articles have appeared in Modern Fiction StudiesAmerican Literary History (ALH)American LiteratureAmerican Quarterly, and elsewhere.


Professor, American Literature
School of English, University of Hong Kong
Teaching and research areas include: American literature and cultual studies, colonial through early-twentieth centuries; American Studies, Native American literatures; race studies; law and U.S. literature; anthropology and literature; visual aesthetics; postcolonial theory; urban studies; history of the novel; transnational dimensions of the China Trade; US contexts of Orientalism


Professor, American Studies
School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Hong Kong


School Head, School of Modern Languages and Cultures (SMLC) (March 2011-December 2017)
Associate Professor (tenured 2012)
Director, American Studies Programme (August 2010-March 2014), University of Hong Kong


Visiting Scholar,
Department of English, University of Pennsylvania


Visiting Associate Fulbright Professor,
American Studies Programme, University of Hong Kong


Associate Professor (tenured),
Department of English, Swarthmore College


Assistant Professor,
Department of English, Swarthmore College


Department of English, University of Pennsylvania


Courses offered in 2018-2019

ENGL1036       Meaning and metaphor
ENGL2165       Legal fictions: United States citizenship and the right to write in America




Publications (Selected)

The New Middle Kingdom
China and the Early American Romance of Free Trade
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017


The emergence of America’s diplomatic relationship with China, the quest to spread the Christian gospel amid the clamor for free trade, and the promise of commerce across a landscape that traversed the Far East is the subject of Johnson’s riveting book. The narratives Johnson (Univ. of Hong Kong) explores offer an unprecedented look into the nature of a romance that captures, as he observes, “the interwoven strands of national anxiety, commercial optimism and diplomatic imperialism” that materialized at a pivotal moment after the Revolutionary War. Through key political publications, such as Harper’s Weekly, and other sites of inquiry, readers learn of critical figures who espoused the romance of free trade, discovery, and attempts to export cultural institutions in definitive ways. In doing so, Johnson chronicles a fascinating account of how the nation forged a new alliance with China in a triumphalist era to reposition the US as the world’s new Middle Kingdom. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. (Dr. N. Sackeyfio)

-CHOICE (Association of College and Research Libraries)


The New Middle Kingdom is at its core an account of those who shaped the US’ early relationship with China. By examining these figures through their own works and their national context, Johnson crafts a remarkable argument about the intricacies of both the China trade, and, more challengingly, the roots of American empire to be found there. As a work of deep archival research, the book will be valuable to scholars of the US’ first century, particularly for those working at the intersections of literature and commerce. The book also performs a useful service for those working on imperialism in East Asia through its meticulously documented accounts of how empire actually functioned. Finally, and perhaps most unexpectedly, Johnson’s work will be of great interest to scholars of the Qing dynasty because of its lucid presentation of early American engagement with China, which offers a springboard for new research into an often-glossed period of Chinese history. (Dr. Daniel M. Dooghan)

-American Literary History


In this stunningly refreshing literary study of American perceptions of China during the antebellum period, Kendall Johnson has delivered an indispensable critique, which will appeal widely to both historians and scholars of American studies. (Dr. Pang Yang Huei)

-The History Teacher (Society for History Education)


Likewise, in exploring, in so much depth and so persuasively, the “romance of free trade,” Johnson has prepared the way for further explorations of how different approaches to American political economy intersected with US-China relations, as well as provided a basis for interrogating why—and how—there could have been such ideological and narrative continuity amid such significant change in this complex relationship. (Dr. Dael Norwood)

-Humanities and Social Sciences Online (HNet)


Oceanic Archives, Indigenous Epistemologies, and Transpacific American Studies.
Contributing co-editor with Yuan Shu and Otto Heim.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2019. 


Includes my chapter: “Residing in ‘South-Eastern Asia’ of the Antebellum United States: Reverend David Abeel and the World Geography of American Print Evangelism and Commerce”: 62-90. 


Narratives of Free Trade:
The Commercial Cultures of Early US-China Relations
Contributing editor
Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012.


Narratives of Free Trade joins a growing literature concerned with unraveling how Americans’ engagement with China and Chinese engagement with Americans shaped each nation, and in turn how these encounters shaped the modern global system. By mobilizing new and old forms of analysis in service of this project, and by putting scholars of the United States and China into conversation, the book opens up new vistas for exploration and expands a field that we can expect will continue to grow for some years to come. (Dr. Dael Norwood)

-Humanities and Social Sciences Online (HNet)


Overall, by focusing on individuals’ experiences and reflections, this book encourages readers to revisit the unfolding history of US–China relations from those earliest commercial encounters. The biggest takeaway is a rather diversified perspective, from which we are able to better understand the complexity of US–China relations, both in the past and the present. (Dr. Lei Yu)

-Asian Studies Review


Henry James and the Visual
Cambridge University Press, 2007; paperback, 2011.


From the opening sentence of the book... [Johnson] makes a convincing case for the resonance that he identifies between the visual languages of these pictures and James's own visual language. (Professor Susan Griffin)

-New England Quarterly


Henry James and the Visual is well worth reading for anyone interested in understanding the powerful representational effect and meaning of the picturesque during the nineteenth century and, especially, for learning how that mode was used and complicated by Henry James. (Professor Greg Zacharias, Center for Henry James Studies)

-American Studies



"Imagining Self and Community in Native American Autobiography."
In The Columbia Guide to Native American Literature of the United States: 1945-Present.
Edited by Eric Cheyfitz.
Columbia University Press, 2006. pp. 357-401.

Critical Companion to Henry James:
A Literary Reference to His Life and Word
Contributing co-editor with Eric Haralson
New York: FactsOnFile, 2009.


The book has two great strengths. The first is that the entries are readable and engaging. The second is the inclusion of a critical analysis for every work in part 2 and a list of references for all entries in parts 2 and 3. Authors Haralson (Stony Brook University) and Johnson (Swarthmore College) provide this level of information with the assistance of more than 60 contributors. Although no comprehensive list of contributors is provided, each entry lists the contributor’s name and credentials. This book is an excellent resource for school, public, and academic libraries. (Cynthia Crosser)

-BOOKLIST (American Library Association)


  • Revising Escape: Frederick Douglass’s Civic Promise of Free Trade and Amitav Ghosh’s Global Geography of Commerce.” In Rethinking America’s Past: Voices from the Kinsey African American Art and History Collection. Edited by Tim Gruenewald. University of Cincinnati Press, 2019:  67-119.

  • "The Sacred Fonts and Racial Frames of the American Mission Press: Mongolian Type, Chinese Exclusion, and the Transnational Figuration of Savagery," American Quarterly 71.1 (March 2019):1-28;  Beyond the Page coda.

  • "Caleb Cushing and the Corporate Romance of Free Trade Imperialism in Washington Irving’s Astoria (1836)," Literature Compass, 14.9 (September 2017): 1-11.

  • "Captivity Narratives." In Oxford Bibliographies in American Literature. Eds. Jackson Bryer, Richard Kopley, and Paul Lauter. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. (DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199827251-0115).

  • "Henry James and the China Trade," Modern Fiction Studies 60.4 (Winter 2014): 677-710.

  • "Reading for Contexts of American Orientalism from the Far East to the Far West," American Literary History (ALH) 25.3 (Fall 2013): 638-659.

  • "Revising First Impressions: American Stereotypes of China and the National Romance of Free Trade" and
    "The Speculative Romance of Early Sino-American Commerce in The Journals of Major Samuel Shaw, the First American Consul at Canton (1847)." In Narratives of Free Trade: The Commercial Cultures of Early US-China Relations , 2012.

  • "The Place of Macao In American Literary Studies." In Introduction to Macaology. Edited by Hao Yufan, Wu Zhiliang, and Lin Guangzhi. Beijing: Shehui Kexue Wenxian Chubanshe, 2012: 289-312.

  • Review of Henry James's Narrative Technique: Consciousness, Perception and Cognition (2010) by Kristin Boudreau, and The Illustration of the Master: Henry James and the Magazine Revolution (2010) by Amy Tucker. In American Literature 84.1 (March 2012): 196-198.

  • "Henry James, 1843-1916: A Brief Biography." In A Historical Guide to Henry James. Edited by John Carlos Rowe and Eric Haralson. Oxford University Press, 2012: 14-52.

  • Review of Red Land, Red Power: Grounding Knowledge in the American Indian Novel (2008) by Sean Kicummah Teuton, and Seeing Red: Anger, Sentimentality, and American Indians (2008) by Cari M. Carpenter. In American Literature 82.2 (June 2010): 439-441.

  • "Visual Culture." In Henry James in Context. Edited by David McWhirter. Cambridge University Press, 2010. p. 364-377.

  • "Peace, Friendship, and Financial Panic: Reading the Mark of Black Hawk in Life of Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak." American Literary History. 19.4 (Winter 2007): 771-99.

  • "Book review of Oz Frankel, States of Inquiry: Social Investigations and Print Culture in Nineteenth-Century Britain and the United States, Nineteenth-Century Contexts. 30.3 (September 2008): pp. 285-87.

  • Reviews of The Expediency of Culture: Uses of Culture in the Global Era by George Yúdice and Individuality Incorporated:Indians and the Multicultural Modern by Joel Pfister. American Literature. 77.3 (Summer 2005).

  • "Rising from the stain on a painter's palette: George Catlin's Picturesque and the Legibility of Indian Removal." Nineteenth Century Prose. 29.2 (Fall 2002): 69-93.

  • "The Dark Spot in the Picturesque: The Aesthetics of Polygenism and Henry James's 'A Landscape Painter.'" American Literature. 74. 1 (Spring 2002): 59-87.

  • "The Scarlet Feather: Racial Phantasmagoria in What Maisie Knew." The Henry James Review. 22.2 (Spring 2001): 128-146.

  • "Melville and the Post-Colonial Quandary," Review of The Sign of the Cannibal: Melville and the Making of a Post-Colonial Reader by Geoffrey Sanborn. American Literature. 72.2 (June 2000): 423.

  • Critical essays on Henry James, Thomas Mann, Virginia Woolf, Ralph Ellison, and Yukio Mishima for Short Stories for Students, a series by Gale Research Co.: Detroit, 2000.

  • "Haunting Transcendence: The Strategy of Ghosts in Breton and Bataille." Twentieth-Century Literature. 45.3 (Fall 1999): 347-370.




Graduate Student Supervision

  • Dr. Selina Lai-Henderson (HKU PhD, 2013)
    "Lighting Out for the Chinese Territory: Mark Twain & 'Sivilization' in China"

  • Lau Suet Wing (HKU MPhil, 2015)
    "The Harlem Renaissance and the Story behind the Fiction of Carl Van Vechten"

  • Wang Chao (HKU MPhil, 2015)
    "Sign Language and the Moral Government of Deafness in Antebellum America"

  • Zhang Yun (HKU PhD, 2015; Professor Louise Edwards as primary supervisor)
    "Gendered Writing, the Women's Press, and Modernity: The Making of Chinese New Women, 1898-1918"

  • Selena Dramlic (HKU PhD, 2015; Professor Louise Edwards as primary supervisor)
    "Hu Shi's National Learning: Actualizing the Chinese Renaissance by Reorganizing National Heritage"

  • Yao Katherine Lan (HKU MPhil, 2016)
    "The First Chinese Face of Edgar Allan Poe"

  • Zhang Pingfan (HKU PhD, 2017)
    "Intertextuality of the Nanjing Massacre: The Afterlife of Missionary Writings in Transnational Literature and Cinema"

  • Dong Xiaoxi Doreen (HKU PhD, 2018)
    "'Black Like Mao': The Utilization of African American Literature in 20th-Century China"

  • Yang Gege Jasmine (HKU Mphil 2019)
    "Anson Burlingame’s Cooperative Policy and China’s Entrance into the Family of Nations"




Academic Conferences, Delivered Papers, Forums (selected)

  • "Debunking the Great Walls and Loving Neighbors of John Quincy Adams’s ‘War with China’: The Editorial Authority of the Extraterritorial American Mission Press," The Dragon and the Eagle: Interdisciplinary Symposium on Early Sino-American Maritime Trade, Asia Society, 13 April 2019:

  • "Seeing China through the Telescope of John Q. Adams: Astronomical Speculation and the National Time of Free Trade Futurity," Duke Kunshan University, 22 April 2019.

  • "US Representations of a Global Commodity in the Treaty Port Era," Remedying Distance: The Drive to Bring Closer in the Long Nineteenth Century," School of English, University of Hong Kong, 18-19 May 2018.

  • Panelist discussing James Baldwin and I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016), Edko Films, Broadway Cinematheque, Hong Kong, 27 January 2018.

  • "Ginseng, Free Trade, and the Commodity in Early American Commerce," Literature, Aesthetics, and Cultural Exchange between East Asia and Southeast Asia and Britain and North America in the Long Nineteenth Century, Modern Language Association (MLA), New York City, 5 - 7 January 2018.

  • "Macao and the Melancholy of Opium Speculation in Amitav Ghosh's Ibis Trilogy," The Fifth Conference on Macaology: Macaology and the Development of Macao, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China, 25 November 2017.

  • "The Sacred Fonts of the American Mission Press: Printing Mongolian from Canton between the Opium Wars," Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Science (HKIHSS), 12 September 2017.

  • "International Law, Chinese Diplomacy, and the Shifting Premises of Print Evangelism," Law and Humanities: International Dialogues, Yale Center, Beijing, China, 8 May 2017.

  • "Frederick Douglass and the Struggle for Authorship in American Slave Narrative," Northeast Forest University (NEFU), Harbin, China, 24 March 2017.

  • "Frederick Douglass and the Promise of Free Trade from Baltimore to Boston and from London to Canton," Harbin Finance University, Heilongjiang, Harbin, China, 23 March 2017.

  • "Frederick Douglass, Amitav Ghosh, and the Cultural Limits of Global Free Trade," School of International Education, University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), Beijing, China, 22 March 2017.

  • "The Promise and Imperialism of Free Trade: China and the 'Long Arm of Commerce' in Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881)," in the series Rising Above: The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection, University Museum, University of Hong Kong, 16 February 2017.

  • "Revising John Quincy Adams’s Views on the Opium War in The Chinese Repository," The Opium Workshop, King's College London, 9-10 December 2016.

  • Keynote: "Manifesting Extraterritoriality in China: Caleb Cushing's Revolutionary Commerce and the United Republics of Christendom,” China’s Identity in International Law, East Asian International Economic Law & Policy Program and the Asian Institute of International Financial Law, Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong, 1 September 2016.

  • "Once Upon a Time in 1784: National Biography and the American Quest for Free Trade in China," China and Global Modernity, 1784-1919, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China, 27-29 May 2016.

  • "Surviving Imperialism in The Revenant (2015)," Fulbright Conference: Benevolent Imperialism: Foreign Policy in American Popular Culture," University of Hong Kong, 21-23 May 2016.

  • "Thomas De Quincey, Free Trade, and the Anxious Evangelism of Extraterritorial Printing" The Victorians and the Democratic Imagination, School of English, University of Hong Kong, 13 May 2016.

  • "Legacies of Ginseng and the Continental Drifts of Early National Commerce," Propaganda, Persuasion, the Press and the American Revolution, 1763-1783," Thomas Jefferson Foundation / American Studies at the University of Hong Kong, 26 April 2016.

  • "Picturing the Extraterritorial Graveyard in Commodore Matthew C. Perry's Narrative of the Expedition," Association for Asian Studies," Seattle, Washington, 2 April 2016.

  • Keynote: "Sacred Fonts and the American Revival of the Silk Road: Printing Mongolian in the Chinese Repository," International Symposium of Macao, Hong Kong and 'Silk Road on the Sea' in Global Perspective," Jinan University, Guangzhou, 4-6 December 2016.

  • Keynote: "Caleb Cushing in the Context of Nineteenth-century American Print Culture: Reviewing Extraterritoriality in the Treaty of Wangxia," International Symposium on the Relations between Macao and the United States in the Global Perspective," University of Macau, 2-3 December 2014.

  • "Negotiating the Exception: Caleb Cushing's Law of Nations and the Invention of US Extra-territoriality," After the Leviathan?: The Creation of Global Lines of Politics and Polity in and after the Age of Extremes, European Studies, University of Hong Kong, 22-24 November 2014.

  • "'Such a Sight You Never Saw": Harriett Low's Picturesque Language and the Romance of the Opium Trade," Rethinking Opium and the Opium War, 1800-1900, Association for Asian Studies, Annual Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 28 March 2014.

  • "American Missionaries and the Canton Trade before the First Opium War," Transnational Currents and Religion II: Media and Politics in China and the US, American Studies Network, 10th Anniversary Conference, University of Hong Kong, 17 November 2013.

  • "Printing Faith in China: Plotting the Canton Press onto the 'American Renaissance,'" School of English (HKU) Seminar Series, 7 November 2013.

  • Respondent to "Transnational and Transcultural: The Characteristics of Chinese-Language Publications in North America" by Professor Xiao-huang Yin (Occidental College; Nanjing University), New Perspectives on Transnational Chinese Culture and History, SMLC, University of Hong Kong, June 1-3, 2013.

  • "Free Trade and the Messianic Legacies of Protestant American Printing in Nineteenth-Century China," AAAS Annual Conference 2013: The Afterlives of Empire, Seattle, Washington, USA, April 17-20, 2013.

  • "Samuel Wells Williams, Printer" An International Symposium in Memory of S. W. Williams: Relations between East Asia and the United States in the 19th Century, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Research Center of Overseas Sinology, 14-18 December 2012.

  • "Visualizing Extraterritoriality from Commodore Matthew Perry to The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958)," East Asian Academic Exchange under Globalization, Tsukuba University, Japan, 1-2 November 2012.

  • "Faith, Commerce and Reverend David Abeel's Global Geographic Imagination: Mapping South-eastern Asia in Journal of a Residence in China (1833)," Oceanic Archives and Transnational American Studies, University of Hong Kong, 4-6 June 2012.

  • "Early American Printers in Canton," Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Hong Kong, November 2011.

  • "American Printing in Canton during the First Opium War," The 8th Annual American Studies Conference: US Soft Power & Social Equality, Changchun, China, September 2011.

  • "Henry James's Porcelain Pagodas and the Cultural Alienation of Finance Capital." Transforming Henry James, the Fifth International Conference of the Henry James Society. John Cabot University (Rome, Italy), July 2011.

  • "The Culture of American Commerce in Shanghai," A Tale of Ten Cities: Sino-American Intellectual Exchange from 1842-1950. American Studies Programme, Hong Kong; Institute of American Studies, Shanghai.

  • Chair of Plenary Address by David Meyer (Washington University in St. Louis). Hong Kong In the Global Setting: An International Conference. History Department, University of Hong Kong, January 10-12, 2011.

  • "Henry James and the Crisis of Place in the Global Frame of Financial Capital." The Seventh Annual American Studies Network Conference. Jiangnan University, November 5-7.

  • Invited conference panelist to the first International Conference on Macaology. Presented the paper "The Place of Macao in American Literary Studies: Visualizing Romance in the Diaries of Harriett Low." First International Conference on Macaology. University of Macau, 16 April 2010.

  • "The Speculative Romance of Early Sino-American Commerce in The Journals of Major Samuel Shaw, the First American Consul at Canton (1847)," University of Hong Kong, Narratives of Free Trade in Early Sino-American Relations, 16 June 2009.

    Conference organizer; website: "Narratives of Free Trade in Early Sino-American Relations"

  • "Ginseng, Genre, and the Continental Drifts of Early American Commerce," University of Hong Kong's Center for Anthropological Research, Migrant Entrepreneurship in the Mainland and Chinese Diaspora, 13 June 2009.

  • "Mathew Perry's Gunboat Diplomacy and the Visual Aesthetics of Macau's Protestant Graveyard," University of Macao, First International Conference on Macau Studies: Intercultural Exchanges between East and West. 25 May 2009.

  • "The Shadow of Canton in Herman Melville's 'Benito Cereno' (1855)," American Studies Programme, The University of Hong Kong, 18 March 2009.

  • "World Trade and the Early American Stereotypes of Canton, China", United States Consulate, Guangzhou, China, 11 March 2009.

  • "Seeing Macau through Eyes American: Gunboat Diplomacy and the Changing Stereotypes of the Canton Trade", Fulbright Research Conference (Delivered in the Dom Pedro V Theater, Macao), 6 March 2009.

  • "Henry James's Visions of Finance Capital," Department of English, University of Hong Kong, 12 February 2009.

  • "Looking back at the Second Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln," Journalism and Media Studies Center, The University of Hong Kong, 20 January 2009.

  • "The New American Specie(s): The Crisis of National Character in Samuel Shaw's Vision of Canton"
    • Hong Kong University, Department of Sociology, 21 November 2008
    • Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao S.A.R. Government (Edificio do Instituto Cultural, Tap Seac Square, Macao), 25 November 2008
    • Macao University of Science and Technology (MUST), 20 February 2009.

  • "Seeing White Elephants in Newport: Cultural Metalepsis and the Global Frame of American Capital," Jamesian Strands Conference, Newport, July 2008.

  • "Finance Capital and the Spirit of Speculation: Characterizing the Corporation in Washington Irving's Astoria," The Delaware-Area Writing Group in American Literatures, August 2007.

  • "Picturesque Prospect and the Failure of Sympathy in Fanny Kemble's Journal of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation, 1838-39," The Penn Americanists, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 21 October 2005

  • "Pullman's Progress: Politics of the Picturesque in The American Scene," Henry James Society's James and Visual Culture. Modern Language Association (San Diego, California) 26-30 December 2003.

  • "Amalgamation and the Sprit of Speculation: Washington Irving's Fur-Trading Romance," Special Session. Modern Language Association (San Diego, California) 26-30 December 2003.

  • "Peace, Friendship, and Financial Panic: Reading the Mark of Black Hawk in Life of Ma-Ka-Tai-She-Kia-Kiak," Tri-College Americanist Reading Group, Feb. 13, 2003.

  • "Amalgamation and the Spirit of Speculation: Washington Irving's Recuperation of Astoria," Southeastern American Studies Association (Tallahassee, Florida) 6-9 February 2003.

  • "'Peace and Friendship' in Life of Black Hawk," American Studies Association (Houston, Texas) 14-17 November 2002.

  • "Rules of Engagement: Exhibiting Science in Henry James's The American," International Conference on Henry James (Paris, France) 5-9 July 2002.

  • "George Catlin and the Aesthetics of Indian Removal." McNeil Center for Early American Studies (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) March 2002.

  • "'Rising from the stain on a painter's palette': George Catlin's Picturesque and the Legibility of Indian Removal," Symposium at the New Orleans Historical Collection, honoring MLA former President Alcz ne Fortier (1898) (New Orleans, Louisiana) December 2001.

  • "The Insuperable Gulf between Man and Faun: Plotting Desire in The Marble Faun," American Literature Association (Boston, Massachusetts) May 2001.

  • "America Seen: Picturesque Realism in the Age of Ethnography." Modern Language Association (Washington, D.C.) December 2000. (Panel organizer: American Picturesques: Visual Culture in the 19th Century United States).

  • "Framing Alexandrina: William James and the Refusal of Polygenism," Modern Language Association (Chicago, Illinois) December 1999.

  • "Pictures of Polygenism: Framing Race, Producing Culture in Nineteenth-Century America," Writing the Journey, University of Pennsylvania, June 1999.

  • "The Ivory Tower in Context," Pedagogical Counterpractices and Alternative Educational Sites, American Studies Association (Seattle, Washington) November 1998.

  • "Rememory and the Unhomely: Fixing Beloved on the Big Screen," Globalization, Power and Culture, Ethnohistory Workshop, University of Pennsylvania, October 1998.




Radio and Television Appearances

  • “US Midterm Elections,” RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Hugh Chiverton and Jenny Lam (7 November 2018)

  • "Retrospective on first year of Trump Presidency," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Jim Gould and Mike Rowse on Backchat (22 January 2018)

  • "The Assassination of John F. Kennedy Files," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Hugh Chiverton and Mike Rowse on Backchat (30 October 2017)

  • "Trump and Xi's First meeting," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Danny Gittings and Karen Ho on Backchat (7 April 2017)

  • "US Presidency: Obama's Farewell and Trump's Press Conference," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Hugh Chiverton and Anna Fenton on Backchat (12 January 2017)

  • "Election Day Coverage," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Hugh Chiverton as reaction panelist on Backchat (8 November 2016)

  • "The First Presidential Debate," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Hugh Chiverton and Jim Gould on Backchat (28 September 2016)

  • "Herman Melville's Moby Dick," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Douglas Kerr of The Big Idea (25 September 2016)

  • "US Politics - California Primaries" RTHK Radio 3
    Hugh Chiverton and Danny Gittings of Backchat (10 June 2016)

  • "US Presidential Election and the Iowa Caucus," RTHK Radio 3
    Hugh Chiverton and Michael Chugani of Backchat (3 February 2016)

  • "US Republican Debates," RTHK Radio 3
    Hugh Chiverton and Mike Rowse of Backchat (21 September 2015)

  • "Announcement of Hillary Clinton, running for US President," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Hugh Chiverton and Michael Chugani of Backchat (15 April 2015)

  • "Slavery," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Douglas Kerr of The Big Idea (20 December 2014)

  • "President Obama's Strategy to Face the Islamic State of Iraqi and Syria," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Hugh Chiverton and Danny Gittings for BackChat (12 September 2014)

  • "NBA Lifetime Ban on Donald Sterling," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Annemarie Evans, RTHK Newsroom (30 April 2014)

  • "The United States Constitution," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Douglas Kerr of The Big Idea (30 October 2013)

  • "The Meaning of Halloween," RTHK3 Radio 3
    Interviewed by Tim Littlefield and Chantel Shafie of Something for the Weekend (27 October 2013)

  • "Threat of US Government Shutdown," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Hugh Chiverton and Alex Lo for BackChat (3 October 2013)

  • "Hong Kong Politics and the Transition to a New US Consul General," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Hugh Chiverton and Danny Gittings for BackChat (6 September 2013)

  • "US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED)," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Bryan Curtis for Money for Nothing (7 July 2013)

  • "North Korea," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Hugh Chiverton and Mike Rowse for BackChat (15 April 2013)

  • "Peng Liyuan as China's First Lady," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Hugh Chiverton and Ada Wong for BackChat (26 March 2013)

  • "The Declaration of Independence," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Douglas Kerr of The Big Idea (16 March 2013)

  • "United States Presidential Inauguration" 3
    Color commentator with Sonya Artero, TVB Pearl News (21 January 2013)

  • "US Presidential Election Results," RTHK Television
    Interviewed by Steve Vines of The Pulse (9 November 2012)

  • "US Presidential Election Results," TVB Pearl News
    Interviewed by Sonya Artero US Election Special (7 November 2012)

  • "US Presidential Election Results," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Hugh Chiverton, Nick Beacroft, and Bryan Curtis for US Election Special (7 November 2012)

  • "Panel on the Second US Presidential Debate," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Bryan Curtis for Backchat (18 October 2012)

  • "Michelle Obama and Ann Romney: First Ladies and the Wives of the US Presidential Candidates," RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Crystal Kwok for Kwok Talk (10 October 2012)

  • "Crime Stories" Parts 1 and 2, RTHK Radio 3
    Interviewed by Vanessa Collingridge for The Big Idea (21 and 28 April 2012)

  • "The Man Asian Literary Prize Review - The Changeling by Kenzaburo Oe," RTHK Radio3
    Interviewed by Sarah Passmore for Naked Lunch (16 March 2010)




Course Syllabi (Selected)



Administration and Service (Selected)

Panel Member, Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong, 2018-present, Arts and Humanities sub-panel (Humanities and Social Sciences Panel) (2018-21)

Head, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, (2011-present), University of Hong Kong

Cost Centre Coordinator of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) (2014)
Cost Centre 67: Area Studies, University of Hong Kong

Coordinator of American Studies, (2010-2014; Acting coordinator: July 2017-Dec. 2017), University of Hong Kong

Faculty Research Committee, (2011-2016), University of Hong Kong

Member of the Dean’s Faculty Executive Committee (2010-2017), University of Hong Kong

Dean’s Advisory Committee for Student Exchange (2010- present), University of Hong Kong

Judge to determine Short List for the Man Asian Literary Prize (MALP), 2010-11, 2011-12.

National Peer Review Committee for Fulbright Faculty Grant, East Asia
(China, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Taiwan; 2009-2010)



Research Grant Funding

2012-15 General Research Funding (GRF), Research Grants Council (RGC), Hong Kong
The First American Missionaries to China and Their Faith in the Printing Press
2008-09 Fulbright Scholar, American Studies Programme, University of Hong Kong
2004-05 James A. Michener Research Fellowship,
Swarthmore College
2005 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Seminar: British and Indigenous Cultural Encounters in Native North America: 1580-1785, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, directed by Scott Manning Stevens (SUNY, Buffalo)




1999 Ph.D., Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
1999 Graduate Certificate in Urban Studies, University of Pennsylvania
1995 M. A. Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
1991 B. A. English, University of Michigan, Honors Program in English

Professional Affiliations and Reading Groups

Modern Language Association (MLA); American Studies Association (ASA); Faculty Working Group in American Studies (Tri-College); Americanist Reading Group (University of Pennsylvania); Delaware Area Working Group in American Literature (University of Delaware)



Previous Professional Experience

Focus: HOPE, Detroit, Michigan, (1991-1993)

Served as the Assistant to the Associate Director for major civil rights organization. Facilitated lobbying efforts of Congress, and of the Defense, Commerce, and Agricultural Departments for multi-million dollar educational programs. Knowledge in state, federal and foundation protocol regarding major grant applications for non-profit organizations and educational initiatives



Last updated: 10 April 2019