Berkeley English Faculty

Colleen Lye

Colleen Lye

Associate Professor

427 Wheeler Hall
On Sabbatical Spring 2023

Professional Statement

Colleen Lye (Ph.D, Columbia) is Associate Professor of English at UC Berkeley, where she teaches courses on 20th and 21st century literature, marxism and postcolonial theory, and Asian American Studies. She is affiliated with the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory and the Department of Rhetoric.  She is a member of the editorial boards of RepresentationsInter-Asia Cultural Studies and Postmodern Culture. Besides these venues, her writing has appeared in Modern Languages Quarterly, PMLA, South Atlantic Quarterly, American Literature, American Literary History, Interventions, Novel, Positions, The Journal of Asian American Studies, Public Books and Commune. 

Most recently, Lye is the coeditor of After Marx: Literature, Theory and Value in the Twenty-First Century (with Christopher Nealon, Cambridge 2022). Her book America's Asia: Racial Form and American Literature, 1893-1945 (Princeton 2005) received the Cultural Studies Book Award from the Association of Asian American Studies, and was named a finalist for the John Hope Franklin Prize from the American Studies Association and a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. She has coedited numerous special journal issues on the topics of peripheral realism, Asian racial form, financialization, and the humanities and university struggles. The dossier The Struggle for Public Education in California (coedited with Christopher Newfield) appeared in a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly that won MLA's Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) Award for Best Special Issue of 2011.

Professor Lye's current book-in-progress is a reconstruction of Asian American literary and theoretical contributions to marxism in the United States since the 1960s, with an emphasis on Asian American perspectives into questions of racial capitalism and social reproduction. 

After Marx: Literature, Theory and Value in the Twenty-First Century
After Marx: Literature, Theory and Value in the Twenty-First Century

After Marx: Literature, Theory and Value demonstrates the importance of Marxist literary and cultural criticism for an era of intersectional politics and economic decline. The volume includes fresh approaches to reading poetry, fiction, film and dram....(read more)

America's Asia: Racial Form and American Literature, 1893-1945
America's Asia: Racial Form and American Literature, 1893-1945

America's Asia explores a discursive tradition that affiliates the East with modern efficiency, in contrast to primitivist forms of Orientalism. Colleen Lye traces the American stereotype of Asians as a "model minority" or a "yellow peril"--two aspe....(read more)

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

Edited Volumes

Special Issue: Financialization and the Culture Industry. Eds. with C.D. Blanton and Kent Puckett. Representations 126 (Spring 2014)

Special Issue: Peripheral Realisms. Eds. with Jed Esty and Joseph Cleary. Modern Languages Quarterly 73:3 (Fall 2012)

Special Issue: The Humanities and the Crisis of the Public University. Eds. with Christopher Newfield and James Vernon. Representations 116 (Fall 2011).

Special Section: Against the Day: The Struggle for Public Education in California. Ed. with Christopher Newfield. South Atlantic Quarterly 110:2 (Spring 2011). 

Special Issue: Forms of Asia. Ed. with Christopher Bush. Representations 99 (Summer 2007).

Writing and Speaking

"On the Fortieth Anniversary of the Murder of Vincent Chin: What is Anti-Asian Violence?" In the Moment: Critical Inquiry blog, September 16, 2022. 

"Asian American Cultural Critique at the End of US Empire," American Literary History 34:1 (Spring 2022): 237-255

"The Novel of Revolutionary Ideas: Viet Nguyen and Colleen Lye." Novel Dialogues 2.7 (December 16, 2021). 

"Criticism/Self-Criticism and Identity Politics," South Atlantic Quarterly 119:4 (October 2020): 701-714

"Realism's Futures: An Afterword," Novel: A Forum on Fiction 49:2 (August 2016): 343-357.

"Liberal Arts for Asians: A Commentary on Yale-NUS," Interventions (2015): 1-15

"Unmarked Character and the 'Rise of Asia': Ed Park's Personal Days," Verge 1:1 (Spring 2015): 230-254.

"The Asian American 1960s." The Routledge Companion to Asian American and Pacific Islander Literature. Ed Rachel Lee (London and New York: Routledge, 2014)

"Peripheral Realisms Now." With Jed Esty. Modern Language Quarterly 73:3 (Fall 2012): 269-288.

“Reading for Asian American Literature.” A Companion to American Literary Studies. Eds. Caroline Levander and Robert Levine. (Oxford: Blackwell,  2011).

"The Literary Case of Wen Ho Lee," Journal of Asian American Studies 14.2 (June, 2011): 249-282

“The Afro-Asian Analogy.” PMLA 123:5 (October 2008): 1732-1736. 

“Racial Form,” Representations 104 (Fall 2008): 92-101.

“Introduction: In Dialogue with Asian American Studies.” (Special Issue: Forms of Asia. Eds. Colleen Lye and Christopher Bush) Representations 99 (Summer 2007): 1-12.



Current Research

The long Asian American sixties and global Maoism; realism and naturalism; marxist theory; critical university studies.

English Department Classes