Michelle Liu (she/her/hers)

Faculty Mentor, Program in Writing and Rhetoric
Teaching Professor
Michelle smiling in front of the UW library

Contact Information

PDL A-420
Office Hours
TuTh 1:30-2:20 and by appointment


B.A., UC, Irvine, 1995
Ph.D., Yale, 2003

Areas of Specialization

20th-century American film and literature; ethnic and gender cultural studies;  Asian American studies

Activities and Interests

I am a teaching professor in the English Department at the University of Washington, where I specialize in teaching writing and exploring ideas about identity, history, emotion, and storytelling. I also just finished my second term with the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, which sends publicly engaged knowledge makers of all kinds throughout the state to host civic-minded discussions. I toured my talk, "The Country that Fiction Built" for the 2019-2021 season; and for 2021-2023, my talk was "What Laughter Tells Us: Asian Americans, Comedy, and Belonging." 

My research interests focus on studying the mobilization of race and gender in creating narratives of national belonging. My archival research is on American cultural productions about Asians in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, when the United States stood ready to translate its economic might into global political power. I am currently interested in the representation of Asian Americans as the refracted expression of doubts about American cultural vitality.

My pedagogical interests are in giving students opportunities to think about the place of literature and writing in a digital age. Why does literature and cultural production matter in spaces beyond the academy? How do mediums of expression affect with whom we empathize (and not)  in imagining and defining our communities?


Courses Taught


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