Berkeley English Faculty

Steven S. Lee

Steven Lee

Associate Professor

415 Wheeler

Professional Statement

My research interests include American literature, comparative ethnic studies, Soviet and post-Soviet studies, and Northeast Asia during the interwar years.  I have been teaching at Berkeley since 2009, and am affiliated with the Center for Korean Studies, the Center for Race and Gender, and the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

I am the author of The Ethnic Avant-Garde: Cultures and World Revolution (Columbia UP, 2015), co-winner of the MLA’s Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies; and co-editor (with Amelia Glaser) of Comintern Aesthetics (University of Toronto Press, 2020), winner of the ACLA's René Wellek Prize.

Comintern Aesthetics
Comintern Aesthetics

Founded by Vladimir Lenin in 1919 to instigate a world revolution, the Comintern sought to advance not only the proletarian struggle but also a wide variety of radical causes, including fighting against imperialism and racism in settings as varie....(read more)

The Ethnic Avant-Garde: Minority Cultures and World Revolution
The Ethnic Avant-Garde: Minority Cultures and World Revolution

During the 1920s and 1930s, American minority artists and writers collaborated extensively with the Soviet avant-garde, seeking to build a revolutionary society that would end racial discrimination and advance progressive art. Making what Claude McKa....(read more)

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

"Deterritorialized Nationality: Viktor Tsoi Saves the World." Slavic Review (Forthcoming, 2023).

“The Popular Front and Asiatic Modes of Cultural Production.” Asian American Literature in Transition, Vol. 2 (1930-1965). Eds. Victor Bascara and Josephine Park (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

“Revolution’s Demands: Modernism, Socialist Realism, and the Manifesto.” The New Modernist Studies. Ed. Douglas Mao (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

“Comintern Aesthetics: Space, Form, History.” Comintern Aesthetics. Eds. Amelia Glaser and Steven Lee (University of Toronto Press, 2020).

“Writing Revolution across Northeast Asia” (Special issue editor), Cross-Currents 7, no. 2 (November 2018).

“Harlem via Mexico-Uzbekistan: Race and Sex from the Peripheries of Revolution.” English Language Notes 53, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2015).

“Langston Hughes’s ‘Moscow Movie’: Reclaiming a Lost Minority Avant-Garde.” Comparative Literature 67, no. 2 (Spring 2015). 

“Chinese Communism, Cultural Revolution, and American Multiculturalism.” Ethnic Literatures and Transnationalism: Critical Imaginaries for the Global Age. Ed. Aparajita Nanda. New York: Routledge, 2014.

Borat, Multiculturalism, Mnogonatsional’nost’.” Slavic Review 67, no. 1 (Spring 2008).

  • Translated into Chinese and republished in Journal of the National Academy of Art 35, no. 2 (Hangzhou, 2014).
  • Translated into Russian and republished in Newsletter of Korean Studies in Central Asia 8, no. 16 (Almaty, 2009).

“‘Cultural Pluralism’ and ‘the Self-Determination of Nations’: Towards a Dialogue Between American Multiculturalism and Soviet Mnogonatsional’nost’.” Translated into Georgian. Georgian Journal of American Studies 4 (Tbilisi, 2006).

Current Research

I am currently at work on a book manuscript on the far left and far right in Northeast Asia in the years surrounding World War II, and the imprints of these ideologies on Asian American and Asian Anglophone writing. 

English Department Classes
fall, 2022


Research Seminar: Crisis and Culture: The 1930s, 1970s, and post-2008 in Comparative Perspective


The Teaching of Composition and Literature

fall, 2021


Literature in English: Mid-19th through the 20th Century

45C/101 -- discussion section

Davidson, William

45C/102 -- discussion section

Weidman, Pamela

45C/103 -- discussion section

Davidson, William

45C/104 -- discussion section

Weidman, Pamela

45C/105 -- discussion section

Bowie, Matthew

45C/106 -- discussion section

Bowie, Matthew

spring, 2021


Special Topics in American Cultures: Literature in the Age of Extremes, 1900-1945


Research Seminars: Literature, Communism, Fascism