Assistant Professor of Literature
Mai-Linh Hong is a scholar and teacher of Asian American and Asian diaspora literature and critical refugee studies, and also specializes in 20th/21st-century American literature, contemporary poetry, race and ethnic studies, and law and humanities. Having trained as both a lawyer and a literary scholar, Professor Hong integrates multiple disciplines into a dynamic form of cultural studies. Professor Hong’s approach to Asian American studies is transnational and comparative, and is deeply informed by postcolonial studies and Black studies.
Professor Hong’s current scholarly book project offers a critical cultural study of international refugee law “from below,” that is, from the perspective of refugees who do not make the law but are subject to it. Storytelling is crucial to the refugee regime, the global legal-administrative apparatus governing refugee mobility and refugee aid, and to the politics that sustain and challenge it. Thus, the book examines literature by and about refugees against and alongside legal documents, news media, and NGO writing that express (and sometimes dictate) the historical and legal conditions of refugee life. Other current projects address the racialized and gendered project of face mask sewing during the COVID-19 pandemic; modernist haiku produced by Japanese Americans in the internment camps; and the fraught place of multilingualism in Asian American and Asian diaspora studies. Professor Hong’s writing has appeared in Amerasia Journal; Verge: Studies in Global Asias; International Migration Review; The Account: A Journal of Poetry, Prose, and Thought; Law, Culture, and Humanities; and other journals and edited books. Her articles and chapters address Vietnamese refugee literature, intersections of race and law in America, and race and human rights. Professor Hong serves as Co-Chair of the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies, a sponsoring society of the American Literature Association.
In the classroom, Professor Hong enjoys introducing students to a wide range of literary, legal, and visual texts, and encourages an interdisciplinary approach to American cultural studies. Her teaching is social-justice-oriented and aims to create classroom spaces where many forms of knowledge and knowledge making--and scholars of all backgrounds--are honored. As the first in her family to graduate from college, Professor Hong especially values the opportunity to work with “first-gen” students.
Professor Hong holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. She also completed an M.A. in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and a B.A. in Literature at Yale University. A newcomer to the West Coast, Professor Hong anticipates missing Atlantic thunderstorms, but loving the diversity and rich history of the San Joaquin Valley. She is also a sewist and poet.
Professor Hong teaches courses including Literatures of Asian America, Race, Law, and American Literature, and Poetry and Justice.