Anne A. Cheng

Anne Anlin Cheng is Professor of English and American Studies, and affiliated faculty in the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Committee on Film Studies. She is an interdisciplinary and comparative race scholar who focuses on the uneasy intersection between politics and aesthetics, drawing from literary theory, race and gender studies, film and architectural theory, legal studies, psychoanalysis, and critical food studies.  She works primarily with twentieth-century American literature and visual culture with special focus on Asian American and African American literatures. She is the author of The Melancholy of Race: Psychoanalysis, Assimilation, and Hidden Grief; Second Skin: Josephine Baker and the Modern Surface; and, most recently, Ornamentalism.  Her work has appeared in journals such as Critical Inquiry, Representations, PMLA, Camera Obscura, Differences, among others.  She is also a contributor to Los Angeles Review of Books and Huffington Post.

Cheng received her B.A. in English and Creative Writing at Princeton University, her Masters in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University, and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from University of California at Berkeley. Prior to returning to Princeton as a faculty, she taught at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Cheng is the founder and organizer of the public conversation series Critical Encounters that promotes dialogue between art and theory and encourages cross-disciplinary conversations on the shared topic of social justice. Past programs include a collaborative student reenactment of the Minoru Yasui Trial, with Appellate Court Judge Denny Chin; a screening of new works by internationally renowned filmmaker Isaac Julien; a conversation between contemporary experimental playwrights Jorge Ignacio Cortinas and Young Jean Lee, and more.

Cheng is currently working with colleagues in American Studies to create a new experiment in research and pedagogical partnership called the American Studies Collaboratory, a site for nurturing cross-campus research affinities.  The Col(LAB), for short, creates pop-up, multicultural, and multi-generational labs that bring together scholars and students from the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences to explore how issues such as identity or citizenship shape and are shaped by law, the arts, literature, food, sexuality, space, and more.