Paul Nadal’s research focuses on developing historicist and formalist approaches to literature, with specializations in the Asian American and Philippine Anglophone novel. He is working on two manuscript projects. The first is a study of Philippine literature in English in relation to the political economy of labor export and migrant remittances. Titled “Remittance Fiction,” the book writes a new history of the Filipino Anglophone novel (1934-2010) by showing how diasporic writers —working between the US and the Philippines through an international exchange system of creative writing—forged the representational powers of literary realism to grapple with questions of political-economic development. Theorizing the agency of literature in shaping economic discourse, the project shows how an important precursor to the migrant worker was the writer abroad, whose narratives of return help elucidate remittances not only as money but also as a social form. The second project extends his ongoing interest in economic and literary history through a study of the link between post-1965 global economic restructuring and Asian American literary emergence in the context of Cold War–era debates about race, family, and so-called neoliberal human capital formation.
His article, “Cold War Remittance Economy: US Creative Writing and the Importation of New Criticism into the Philippines,” published in the September 2021 of American Quarterly, models a historically oriented analysis of the convergence of literary and political-economic values in shaping the social life of novels. Another article, “A Literary Remittance,” on the rise of literary realism in the Filipino Novel in English,” was published in American Literature (89.3).
Nadal is currently preparing an article, “Homo Asianus Neoliberalis,” that examines early Chicago human capital theory and the neoliberal origins of the model minority myth, as well as an essay on the transpacific socialist imaginaries of Carlos Bulosan.
Nadal earned his B.A. in English and ethnic studies from the University of Washington, his M.A. in Asian American studies from UCLA, and his Ph.D. in rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a dissertation fellow at the Institute of International Studies under the direction of Colleen Lye and Judith Butler. In 2017-18, he was named Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Wellesley College.
At Princeton, Nadal teaches courses on global Anglophone and Asian American literature and culture, and serves as a faculty fellow at the Scholars Institute Fellowship Program (SIFP), Princeton’s mentorship program for first-generation and low-income students. In the summer of 2019 he joined the faculty as an assistant professor in English and American studies.