Chris Kelsey


In both my teaching and research, I am interested in contemporary works--primarily but not exclusively written in the U.S.--that challenge genre boundaries, and that engage issues in feminist and queer theory, life writing, ethnic studies, and cultural studies. Courses that I have taught explore topics including: the contemporary detective novel; the humanities and human rights; contemporary autobiography; memoir and disability; gender and sexuality; love and terror; American literary history; contemporary literary theory; education and culture; multi-genre women's literature; and contemporary minority literature. I am the author of Academic Lives: Memoir, Cultural Theory and the University Today (2009) and Writing Women's Communities: The Politics and Poetics of Contemporary Multi-Genre Anthologies (1997). Essays and review articles appear in the journals American Quarterly, Biography, Cultural Critique, Hitting Critical Mass, Life Writing, LIT, MELUS, The Contemporary Pacific, and in Gloria Anzaldúa and AnaLouise Keating's This Bridge We Call Home, and in Fred Ho's Diary of a Cancer Warrior: Fighting Cancer and Capitalism at the Cellular Level. A significant part of my work is collaborative. I am the co-editor of Navigating Islands and Continents: Conversations and Contestations in and around the Pacific,and Re-Placing American Literature: Conversations and Contestations. With my colleague Miriam Fuchs, I co-edited the special issue of Biography, "Translating Lives." With Laura Lyons, I co-edited another special issue of Biography, "Personal Effects: The Testimonial Uses of Life Writing." In that issue appears our introduction, "Bodies of Evidence and the Intricate Machines of Untruth," and our interviews with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Haunani-Kay Trask. I also have collaborated with Laura Lyons on articles entitled "Remixing Hybridity: Globalization, Native Resistance, and Cultural Production in Hawaii" (in American Studies and Acoma), and "From Grief to Grievance: Ethics and Politics in the Testimony of Anti-War Mothers" (in Life Writingand Trauma Texts). Another essay of ours,  “‘I Have a Family’: Relational Witnessing and the Evidentiary Power of Grief in the Gwen Araujo Case,” is forthcoming in GLQ. My most recent collaborative project was working with Ibrahim Aoude and Morgan Cooper on a special issue of Biography, "Life in Occupied Palestine," available for free download on Project MUSE. More about this project and events held in relation to it in London, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Palestine can be found on our website. I am currently at work on a book project, "Dehumanization Denaturalized: Human Stories about Uncivil States." The essay “Eichmann and his Ghosts: The Unstable Status of the Human, and Uncivil States,” which appears in Cultural Critique 88 (Fall 2014) comes from that project. I co-edit the journal Biography with Craig Howes and John Zuern, and am on the Coordinating Council for the Center on Disability Studies. I have served as Director of the Honors Program in English and on the International Cultural Studies Program Steering Committee, and have been active in campus-wide organizations including the UH GMO Education Project and the University Peace Initiative. As well, I serve on the board for Hūlili. I am on the Steering Committee for the Organizing Collective of USACBI, the US Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and co-founder of the Hawai'i Coalition for Justice in Palestine (HCJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace- Hawai'i.

Areas of Interest

contemporary women's literature, ethnic U.S. literatures, life writing, disability studies, feminist theory, cultural studies, Palestine


BA, Stanford University MA, PhD, University of California-Berkeley


Fall Semester 2019
  • ENG-100: Composition I

Fall Semester 2018
  • ENG-100: Composition I