E.K. Tan

Associate Professor, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature

I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My specializations include modern and contemporary Chinese literature, Sinophone studies, Southeast Asian studies, Queer Asia, Postocolonial and Diaspora theory. My first book, Rethinking Chineseness: Translational Sinophone Identities in the Nanyang Literary World examines the relationship between the Nanyang Chinese, their original homelands (Borneo, Malaysia and Singapore), and their imaginary homeland (China) through the works of Sinophone and Anglophone writers from Singapore and Malaysia. The manuscript argues that, as a Sinophone culture, the Nanyang Chinese identity is translatable, translational and relational as it traverses between the local and the global. My current book project, Queer Homecoming in Sinophone Cultures: Translocal Remapping of Kinship, proposes the concept of “queer homecoming” as critical intervention to the normative patrilineal kinship structure in Sinophone societies defined by traditional family values, such as those of Confucianism. It argues that queer homecoming as intervention to heteronormative kinship system enables the articulations of alternative kinship structures in mainstream cultural expressions (in literature, film, social and new media) to destabilize the fixity of the myth of consanguinity among Sinophone communities. Concurrently, I am working on a project that examines the impact of language policies on Sinophone cultural productions in literature and media (radio and film, etc.). My work has appeared in, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Journal of Modern Chinese Literature, Sun Yat-Sen Journal of Humanities, Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Journal of World Chinese Literature, and others. You can find a list of my publications here: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=jGnrE9QAAAAJ&hl=en My work on Global Asian diaspora intersects with the theory and practice of Global citizenship as it maintains a critical awareness towards the politics and power structures that condition the movement of people and their sense of belonging.