Alan Williams

Part-time Lecturer
Alan Williams

Contact Information


Ph.D., English, University of Washington, 2020
Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies, 2017–8
M.A., Cultural Studies, University of Washington Bothell, 2010
B.A., Evergreen State College, 2006
Curriculum Vitae (517.96 KB)

Teaching and Research

I primarily teach composition courses, often with themes of U.S. racialization in a transpacific framework. I also teach Asian American literature, cultural studies, and interdisciplinary writing in the humanities and social sciences.

My research deploys queer and critical race critique to thinking about the interimperial transpacific. A tentative book project (based on my dissertation) is titled "Queer Liberal Humanism across the U.S.-Japan Entanglement." It will analyze the intersection of transpacific racialization and queer exclusion/inclusion in order to better elucidate the workings of 19th- to 21st-century empire.

Scaffolding projects include a chapter entitled "Queer Histories of Colonial Modernity" for a forthcoming Oxford Handbook of LGBTQ History. I'm also drafting an article about Soon-Tek Oh's neglected queer play on the Japanese American incarceration, "Tondemonai—Never Happen!" (1970).

Completed Research

In "Queering the Color Line within the Color Line: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Transwar Transpacific" (2022, published 5/2023, abstract), I interrogate W. E. B. Du Bois' political ontology in the context of the rise of liberal pluralism in the entangled U.S. and Japanese empires. Foregrounding his concept of a "color line within a color line," I contest framings of Du Bois as an "Afro-Orientalist" and simple apologist of Japanese empire, instead highlighting his interpretive overlap with pan-Asianism from below. Further, I outline how his 1928 novel Dark Princess is a work of queer praxis.

Queer cultural studies has been another interest. In "Rethinking Yaoi on the Regional and Global Scale" (2015), I theorize the proliferation of yaoi or Boys' Love media (a feminist-queer multimedia genre) in East Asia.

My earlier work engaged the intersection of U.S. LGBTQ politics, identity and conservative religion, namely Mormonism, in the lead-up to the 2015 U.S. legalization of same-sex marriage. In "Mormon and Queer at the Crossroads" (2011), I 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) contends with how civil rights politicking has been insufficient because of how the U.S. state shores 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 civil rights to this effect.


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