Paul Nadal’s research focuses on developing historicist and formalist approaches to literature, with specializations in Asian American and Philippine Anglophone literature. He is working on two manuscript projects. The first is a study of realism in the Filipino novel in English in relation to the political economy of human labor export and migrant remittances. Titled “Remittance Fiction,” his book offers a new history of the Philippine Anglophone novel by tracing its evolution within the transpacific educational exchange system of U.S. creative writing. It argues that an important precursor of the migrant worker was the migrant writer and that novels produced in the diaspora helped to elucidate remittances not only as money but also as a social form. The second project is a study of the link between post-1965 economic restructuring and Asian American literary emergence through an analysis of Cold War–era debates about family, immigration, and so-called human capital formation.
His article “A Literary Remittance: Juan C. Laya’s His Native Soil and the Rise of Realism in the Filipino Novel in English” was published in the September 2017 issue of American Literature. He is currently preparing an article on the “semiperipheral realism” of Wilfrido D. Nolledo’s But for the Lovers (1970) and another on human capital theory and Asian American self-help narratives. Working at the intersection of literature and economics, his research interests include comparative ethnic, postcolonial/global Anglophone, and Asian American literature; theories of style and genre, especially realism and world literature; race, gender, and social reproduction; histories of neoliberalism and financialization; and Marxism.
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 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.