Paul Nadal
Princeton University

I am an Assistant Professor of English and American Studies at Princeton University. My courses include “Asian American Literature,” “Global Novel,” “Model Minority Fictions,” and “World Scale.” I also teach a graduate seminar on Marxist literary theory, which introduces students to historical materialist methods for writing about the economic mediations of culture. 

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

I am also an Elected Delegate (2020-2023) for the CLCS South­east Asian and South­east Asian Diasporic at the Modern Language Association.

︎︎ nadal@princeton.edu


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. Rea­ding across literary and economic history, I bring archival research to the study of the novel to develop a multi­scalar reading practice that ela­borates historical meaning contextually and in the form of the work itself.

I bring these research interests together in my current book project, Remittances, Literary & Economic, which develops the first sustained inquiry into the conver­gence between novels and remittances, or the money that migrant workers send home. Theorizing remittances not only as currency but as a heuristic for reading inter­secting circulations of literature, people, ideas, and value, 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 labor export economies. It argues that an important pre­cursor to the migrant worker was the overseas writer, whose narratives of return envisaged remittances as comprising forms of  labor that are part of, but remain irredu­cible to, market calculations of  social life.

My second project extends my ongoing interest in Marxist aesthetic theory and literary and economic history through a dual study of neoliberalism’s racial forms and Asian American literary emergence, tracing today’s digitally-driven knowledge economy to Cold War-era debates about race, family, time, and neoliberal human capital formation.



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.