Selina Lai-Henderson
Assistant Professor of American Literature and History at Duke Kunshan University

I am a US literary historian. My major intellectual theme--rethinking American writers from global perspectives--situates US literature in the transnational frame of China and in translation. I am the author of Mark Twain in China  (Stanford UP, 2015), and I am writing a second book, "You Are No Darker Than I Am:" Afro-Asian Imaginary and Encounters.  I co-direct Freedom Lab (Research Humanities Center, DKU) and am Senior Associate Managing Editor of Journal of Transnational American Studies.

Current Research Interests

My second monograph (in progress) explores the historic visits of Hughes (1933) and Du Bois (1936, 1959, and 1962) to China. It examines the ways in which what they experienced there opened rare platforms for cross-cultural dialogues on race and imperialism among African American, Asian American, and Chinese intellectual communities in the U.S. and China at the time. As the earliest African American writers to set foot on Chinese soil, Hughes and Du Bois helped rewrite the public image of African Americans in the Chinese cultural and intellectual imagination. The internationalist perspectives that they obtained from their visits offered them a powerful tool to communicate the struggles of black citizenship at home in a global context. Through examining their sojourns, my research unveils the two writers’ unique, albeit at times conflicting, articulations of a racial consciousness that defied national, geographical, and political boundaries of the color line.


Current Appointments & Affiliations

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