Palumbo-Liu, David

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Palumbo-Liu, David


Born in the United States. Education: University of California, Berkeley, B.A. (French and English comparative literature), 1975, B.A. (Oriental languages), 1977, M.A., 1980, Ph.D., 1988.


Office—Department of Comparative Literature, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 94305-2031; fax: 650-725-4090. E-mail—[email protected].


Georgetown University, Washington, DC, assistant professor of English, 1988-90; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, assistant professor, 1990-94, associate professor, beginning 1995, currently professor of comparative literature, director of programs in Asian-American studies, 1999-2000, and modern thought and literature, 1999.


Modern Language Association of America, American Chinese Comparative Literature Association, Association of Asian Studies, Association of Asian American Studies.


Grants from National Taiwan University and Pacific Cultural Foundation, 1980; national resource fellowship for the study of Japanese, 1982; grants from Maybelle McLeod Lewis Foundation, 1987, and Irvine Foundation, 1991; fellow at Stanford Humanities Center, 1994.


The Poetics of Appropriation: The Literary Theory and Practice of Huang Tingjian (1045-1105), Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1993.

(Editor) The Ethnic Canon: Histories, Institutions, Interventions, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1995.

(Coeditor) On Becoming Filipino: Selected Writings of Carlos Bulosan, Temple University Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1995.

(Editor, with Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht) Streams of Cultural Capital: Transnational Cultural Studies, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1997.

Asian/American: Historical Crossings of a Racial Frontier, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1999.

Contributor of articles and translations to periodicals, including Diacritics, Positions: East Asia Culture Critique, Amerasia Journal, Differences, American Literary History, Public Culture, Poetics Today, Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of the International Comparative Literature Association, and Studies in the Novel.


David Palumbo-Liu is a professor at Stanford University, where he teaches courses in Asian and Asian American studies, race, migrancy, ethnicity, and social theory. The focus of his graduate studies was on Chinese literature, literary criticism, and theory. He spent two years in East Asia, during which he studied the Chinese language in Taiwan. From 1985 to 1986, he researched Japanese scholarship on classical Chinese literature at Kyoto University in Japan. At Stanford University, Palumbo-Liu was a founding member of the program in comparative studies in race and ethnicity.

In The Poetics of Appropriation: The Literary Theory and Practice of Huang Tingjian (1045-1105), Palumbo-Liu discusses the work of Huang Tingjian, whose poetry is difficult to understand due to "his dense use of recondite allusions," according to Palumbo-Liu's home page at Stanford University's Web site. The Ethnic Canon: Histories, Institutions, Interventions, edited by Palumbo-Liu, contains essays by Norma Alarcón, Lisa Lowe, Elliott Butler-Evans, and others. The EthnicCanon, according to the author's home page, "argues for a contestative and critical multicultural pedagogy." The essays chart "the various functions and histories of the institutionalization of ethnic literature in the U.S. academy."

Tim Libretti, a reviewer in Amerasia Journal, described The Ethnic Canon as a volume "committed to developing an historical materialist approach to multiculturalism." The reviewer also noted that the book "appears at an opportune moment to redirect and reradicalize racial and ethnic studies."

Palumbo-Liu discussed another of his books, Asian/American: Historical Crossings of a Racial Frontier, at his home page, describing "the modern identity of America as inseparable from its notion of a Pacific Destiny." The author claims that the Asian/American identity has been produced by this notion, and discusses "how Asians have been assimilated into American society" at various historical points.

In Choice, E. Hu-DeHart wrote a commentary on Asian/American, observing that "only a true comparativist and interdisciplinary scholar could produce a work of such profound insights and erudition."



Amerasia Journal, 1996, Tim Libretti, review of The Ethnic Canon: Histories, Institutions, Interventions, pp. 157-160.

Choice, November, 1999, E. Hu-DeHart, review of Asian/American: Historical Crossings of a Racial Frontier, p. 579.

Library Journal, September 1, 1999, Mark Meng, review of Asian/American, p. 219.


Stanford University Web site: David Palumbo-Liu Home Page, (July 23, 2008).