Lynn Itagaki

Lynn Itagaki
Associate Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies
325 Strickland Hall

PhD, English, UCLA, 2005

MA, English, UCLA, 2002

MA, Asian American Studies, UCLA, 2001

AB, English and American Language and Literature, summa cum laude, Harvard, 1996

Research and Teaching


Professor Lynn Mie Itagaki has research interests in interracial ethics, comparative race studies, women of color feminism and twentieth- and twenty-first-century U.S. literature by writers of color. She recently published a book that examines the post–civil rights era in terms of the 1992 Los Angeles crisis, Civil Racism: The 1992 Los Angeles Rebellion and the Crisis of Racial Burnout, and has published articles and reviews in African American Review, Amerasia Journal, Cultural DynamicsFeminist Formations, MELUS, Modern Fiction Studies and Prose Studies. Her next book projects examine the aesthetics and politics of the media bystander in the post-9/11 era and race and economics in literature after the Great Recession. She was recently a 2018-2019 Visiting Fellow in the Programme of American Studies at Northumbria University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, and a 2019 Visiting Professor for the International Research Training Group-Diversity at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany.

Analyzing Supreme Court opinions and political theory, Professor Itagaki has recently published on queer/transphobic civility and interracial trust in our contemporary moment for the Connecticut Law Review and Missouri Law Review, respectively, and "racial laundering" in 2013 Shelby County v. Holder that dismantled the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In comparative racialization, she has written on "racial pyramidization" and Karen Tei Yamashita's Tropic of Orange in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching and critiques of multiculturalism in Volume III of the Cambridge University Press series Asian American Literature in Transition, 1965-1996. Professor Itagaki has forthcoming essays on anti-Asian violence appearing in Jennifer C. Nash and Samantha Pinto's edited Cambridge Companion to Intersectionality and on what she calls "financial naturalism" in post-Great Recession literature in an anthology on race and economics edited by Vincent Lloyd and Amaryah Armstrong. She and her co-author Jennifer Maria Gülly (College of William and Mary) have written on German pro-migrant literature and performance art for essays in Modern Fiction Studies and Cultural Dynamics as well as two articles on pro-migrant activism in Periscope: Social Text Online and philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism. Professor Itagaki is also the series editor for Since 1970: Studies in Contemporary America at the University of Georgia Press.

Listen to Professor Itagaki talk about civility, inequality and America's civil religion on NPR.

Watch her recorded talk, "Civility in Uncivil Times: Framing the Racial Pyramid and Comparative Racialization" at The Bridge, MU School of Education (5 October 2021).

Areas of Expertise

  • Twentieth- and twenty-first century American literature
  • Asian American literature
  • Comparative racialization
  • Critical ethnic studies
  • Feminist theory
  • Women of color feminism
  • African American literature
Selected Publications

“The Long Con of Civility,” special issue “How We Argue Now: The Moral Foundations of Politics and Law,” Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 52, No. 3 (February 2021): 1169-86.

“Compromising Trust,” Special Issue on Jack Balkin’s The Cycles of Constitutional Time. Missouri Law Review  86.2 (2021): 541–552.

“Multiculturalism and Its Discontents,” Volume III: Asian American Literature in Transition, 1965–1996. Eds. Asha Nadkarni and Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2021.

Co-author, Jennifer M. Gully. “Fleeing Bodies and Fleeting Performances: Transience and the Nation-State.” Special issue, “Transient Performance,” eds. Sean Metzger and Kimberly Welch. Cultural Dynamics, Vol. 33, No 1-2 (Feb-May 2021).

Co-author, Jennifer M. Gully. “The States of Memory: National Narratives of Belonging, the Refugee Novel, and Jenny Erpenbeck's Go, Went, Gone,” Modern Fiction Studies 66.2 (Summer 2020): 260–80.

“Racial Laundering Equality in Shelby County v. Holder,” The Shadow of Selma, eds. Henry Knight Lozano and Joe Street. Gainesville: U of Florida P, 2018. 264–288.

Co-author, Jennifer M. Gully, “The Migrant is Dead, Long Live the Citizen!: Pro-Migrant Activism at EU Borders,” special issue “Mapping the Margins of Europe: Race, Migration and Belonging,” eds. Agnes Czajka and Jennifer Suchland, philoSOPHIA: Journal of Continental Feminism 7.2 (Summer 2017): 281–304.

Civil Racism: The 1992 Los Angeles Rebellion and the Crisis of Racial Burnout. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016.

-Reviewed in CHOICE, American Literary History, Critical Ethnic Studies, Journal of Asian American Studies, Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association, and Social History.

Proximal Subjects: Framing the Bystander and the Visuality of Vulnerability,” special issue “Revaluing the Human: The Moral Economy of Human Rights.” Prose Studies 38.1 (2016): 93-115.

Science Fiction and Speculative Worlds.” A History of California Literature. Ed. Blake Allmendinger. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015. 371-384.

The Autobiographical IOU: Elizabeth Warren’s Debtor-Citizen and the Reliably Liable Life Narrative.” Biography 37.1 (Winter 2014): 93-123.

United States, Inc.: Citizens United and the Shareholder Citizen.” Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies 1.2 (Fall 2014): 114-137.