Paul Nadal
Princeton University

I am an Assistant Professor of English and American Studies at Princeton University, where I also serve as an executive committee member of the Program in Media and Modernity. In 2023, I was named Laurance S. Rockefeller University Preceptor for Princeton’s Center for Human Values. My courses include “Asian American Literature,” “Global Novel,” “Model Minority Fictions,” and “World Scale.” I also teach graduate seminars on racial capitalism and Marxist aesthetic theory.

My article, “Cold War Remittance Economy”︎ [PDFAmerican Quar­terly 73.3 (2021), won the 1921 Best Essay Prize, which is an­nually awarded by the Advisory Council of the American Lite­rature Society for "the best article in any field of American literature."

Beyond Princeton, I was elected Delegate Representative (2023–26) for Literary Theory and Method at the Modern Language Association. For the Association for Asian American Studies, I served as juror member for the 2024 Asian American Fiction Award. I’m also on the steering committee for the 2024-2025 Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar on "Transpacific Thought and the Problem of Asia,” directed by Kandice Chuh and Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu.


What can literature tell us about political economy and what can political economy tell us about literature?

I am an inter­disciplinary scholar working at the inter­section of literature and economy, with a parti­cular focus on Asian American and Philippine Anglo­phone literature. I read across literary and economic history and bring archival research to the study of the novel. My method is defined by a reading practice that elaborates historical meaning contextually and in the form of the works themselves. 

I develop this archival and formalist method in my current book project, “Remittances, Literary & Economic,” a study of novels and remittances in the Philippine diaspora. Theorizing remittances as a heuristic for reading the connections between the circulation of labor and value on the one hand, and the circulation of ideas and texts on the other, the book uncovers the surprising role that English-language lite­rature played in the twentieth-century trans­formation of the Philippines into one of the world’s largest exporters of labor. I have shared parts of the book project in progress at New York University, Harvard University, Yale University, the University of the Philippines, the American University of Beirut, and the Institute for Critical Theory at Duke University.


I am also developing a second book project that extends my ongoing interest in literary and economic history. The project reconstructs the Cold War evolution of neoliberalism and the ascendance of the so-called knowledge economy by turning to Asian American literature to uncover what I call the “Asian American character of human capital, logistics, and automation.” A chapter from this project, on how Chicago School human capital theory remade the model minority myth, was published in the August 2023 issue of Representations.  


I received my Ph.D. in Rhetoric from the University of Cali­fornia at Berkeley, where I was a disser­tation fellow at the Institute of Inter­national Studies under the direction of Colleen Lye and Judith Butler. Before coming to Princeton, I held a visiting assistant professorship at The New School in New York City and an Andrew W. Mellon post­doctoral fellowship at Wellesley College.

I was born and raised in the Philippines and currently live in Princeton, NJ.