Photo of Lisa Yun


Associate Professor, English Department

Ph.D., University of Texas, B.A. Yale University
tel.: 607-777-6405
fax.: 607-777-2408

Co-founder of Asian and Asian American Studies at Binghamton University
Founder of the Community Engagement Program:
Affiliated: Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies; Comparative Literature; Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Recent Appointments

  • Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities
  • Faculty Fellow of the Center for Civic Engagement
  • Faculty Associate of the Humanities at the Undergraduate Research Center

Current Teaching Areas

Asian and Asian American Studies; Afro-Asian Intersections; Chinese Diasporas; Gender, Sexuality, and Cultural Politics of Asian Diasporas; Asians of the Caribbean and Latin America; Critical Race and Ethnicity; Histories and Literatures of Freedom, Indenture, and Slavery; Testimonial Literature; Community Engagement and Praxis

Current Research Activities on Campus

Co-Director of the Dean's Speaker Series, "China in Latin America"

Current Service Duties

  • Co-Director of Graduate Professional Preparation and Placement, English Department
  • Co-Coordinator of the Asian American Studies Program, AAAS Department


The Coolie Speaks: Chinese Indentured Laborers and African Slaves of Cuba (Temple University Press, 2008)

Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2008
Reviewed favorably in over 20 academic journals. Selections:The Coolie Speaks

"A tour de force of original, interdisciplinary scholarship and innovative methodology..." — Journal of Chinese Overseas (Evelyn Hu Dehart, Brown University);

"Superbly contextualizes the heterogeneous world of contract labor involving Africans, Indians, and Chinese around the world... an enormously significant contribution to the field" — Choice (Franklin Knight, Johns Hopkins University);

"Obligatory reading for historians working in many fields- Latin American and Caribbean history, most obviously, but also the politics of testimonial production in general" — American Historical Review (Barry Carr, UC Berkeley and Australian National University);

"Foundational for any scholar interested in the question of indentured laborers as a transition from a slave to free economy and the nature of the contract" — Journal of Law and History Review (Kathleen López, Rutgers University);

"A breakthrough of scholarship" Callaloo (Bill Mullen, Purdue University); "The Coolie Speaks will bring tears to your eyes" — Labor (Elliott Young, Lewis & Clark College);

"An extraordinary exemplar of scholarship" — Estudios Interdisciplinarios de America Latina y el Caribe (Donna Chollett, U Minnesota);

"Her interdisciplinary approach combines history, law, philosophy, and literary theory and draws upon impressively broad swaths of material to contextualize her analysis" — Continuity and Change (Frances Peace Sullivan, Harvard).

Book Manuscript: A Third Literature of the Americas: The Coolie Testimonio
This follow up volume to Coolie Speaks provides full Chinese to English translations of petitions authored by 1,665 Chinese in 1874. Includes annotations and a critical introduction that introduces the petitions as 1) a hybrid genre of Chinese and Latin American traditions of petitioning and collective witnessing, 2) a "third literature" of linguistic and cultural creolization 3) a body of literature historically and conceptually situated between slave and free, colonial and postcolonial. The volume also provides brief biographies of select petitioners and index of all petitioners: names (in Chinese, pinyin, Wade Giles), villages and provinces of origin in China, cities where petitions were submitted in Cuba, plantations in Cuba which the petitioners were located.

Book Chapters

"Archives of Biography and History in the God of Luck" in The Chinese of the Caribbean and Latin America, eds. Walton Look Lai and Tan Chee Beng (Brill 2010).

"Linking African and Asian in Passing and Passage: Patricia Powell's The Pagoda and Margaret Cezair Thompson's The True History of Paradise" and "Havana Afro-Cubano Movement and the Harlem Renaissance" in Transnational Blackness: Navigating the Global Color Line eds. Manning Marable and Vanessa Agard-Jones (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

"Chinese Freedom Fighters in Cuba: From Bondage to Liberation 1847-1898" and "El Chino" in
AFRO/ASIA: Revolutionary Political and Cultural Connections Between African Americans and Asian Americans eds. Bill Mullen and Fred Ho (Duke University Press 2008).


Translated excerpt of Coolie Speaks as "El Coolie habla: obreros contratados chinos y esclavos africanos en Cuba" in E-MISFÉRICA 5.2 (2008)

"Signifying Asian and Afro-cultural Poetics" in The Afro-Hispanic Review 27, no. 1 (Fall 2008).

"An Afro-Chinese Caribbean: Cultural Cartographies of Contrariness in the Work of Antonio Chuffat Latour, Margaret Cezair-Thompson, and Patricia Powell" in Caribbean Quarterly 50, no.2 (Summer 2004).

"Spoken Word, Hip Hop, and Poetic Consciousness in the 21st Century"
Wasafiri: Journal of Contemporary African, Asian, Black British, and Caribbean Literature 38 (Spring 2003): 38-43.

"Domestic Terrorism: The Ideology of Division and the Power of Naming" Amerasia Journal 28, no. 3 (Spring 2003)

"Under the Hatches: American Coolie Ships and Nineteenth Century Narratives of the Pacific Passage"
Amerasia Journal 28, no.2 (Fall 2002)

"Chinese Coolies and African Slaves in Nineteenth Century Cuba" Journal of Asian American Studies 4, no.2 (June 2001)

"Africans and Asians Breaking Boundaries" in Black Issues Book Review, May/June 2000

"Evanescence: Toshiko Akiyoshi and the Art of Jazz" in The Asian Pacific American Journal (Summer 1997)

"The Politics of Language in The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" inMELUS: Journal for the Study of MultiEthnic Literature in the U.S. 17, no.2 (1992)

Articles, Non-refereed

"The Pacific Century: Transforming of Our World View" in Inside Magazine: Millennium Project Series, Binghamton University, February 2000

Book Review
Review of Chinese Cubans by Kathleen Lopez in New West Indian Guide 89.1 (Brill, 2015)

Creative Writing Publications: Poetry


"Saturday in Chinatown," in Roots and Flowers, Henry Holt, 2001

"Sewing by the Piece," "Saturday in Chinatown," in The NuyorAsian Anthology, Temple University Press, 1999

"Choice in Colored Rain," in Identity Lessons, Viking Penguin, 1998

Literary Journals

"Julio's Story," Girl Back," The Paterson Literary Review, Summer 2004

"El Chino," Gathering of the Tribes Magazine, Issue 10 2003

"38 Mulberry Street," Pennsylvania English

"Razberrie," Illya's Honey, Winter 2000

"Sewing by the Piece," The Paterson Literary Review, Summer 1999

"Slouching Towards Bethlehem," LIPS, Fall 1998

"Death by Rose," "My Love of Watermelon and a Word Man," Illya's Honey, Summer 1998

"Fall of the Bride," "Choice in Colored Rain," "When Trains Rumble," The Paterson Literary Review, Summer 1997

"Saturday in Chinatown," "The Importance of Photographs," The Hawaii Pacific Review, Spring 199

"An Affair of Roses," The Georgetown Review, Spring 199

"My Sixth Winter Under a Blind Moon," The Seattle Review, Fall 1993

Presentations and Conferences (selected)

"Crossing Boundaries and Nations: New Work on Asians of Latin America and Caribbean," Organizer and Roundtable Chair, Association of Asian American Studies 2015

"Coolie Narratives of Yesterday and Today: An Ancestral Genre of the Americas" Featured Speaker, Asians in the Americas Third Symposium, Rutgers University, 2014

"Asians in the West: Yesterday's Global Slavery" Keynote, Stony Brook University 2014

"Asian American Authors and Their Impact in Asia," Panel Chair, National Library, Singapore 2013

"African-Asian Intersections and Migrations," Conference Co-Chair, Binghamton University 2012

"Before The Yellow Peril, Model Minority, and Terrorists: Different Narratives of Asian Diasporas to the Americas," Invited Speaker, Syracuse University 2011

"Global Africa and Asia in the Age of Globalization," Conference Co-Chair and Plenary Speaker, New York African Studies Association 2010


The Peter T. and Shun Yee Chang Memorial Internship. Faculty Administrator: $50K Endowed, 2012- present

Freeman Foundation Grant "Asian Studies: An Integrative Initiative" 2002. Co-Principal Investigator: $1.75 million to establish Asian and Asian American Studies Program/Department, Four Year Plan


Binghamton University Faculty Honor for Community Engaged Teaching 2015

SUNY Chancellor's Award for Faculty Service 2007



Last Updated: 3/20/15