Paul Nadal
Princeton University

I am an Assistant Professor of English and American Studies, and an associate faculty member of the Program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University. I was recently 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”︎ American Quar­terly 73.3 (2021), received 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."

In January 2023, I was elected Delegate Representative (2023–26) for Literary Theory and Method 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. I read across literary and economic history and bring archival research to the study of the novel, developing a multi­scalar 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,” the first sustained inquiry into the conver­gence between novels and remittances, or the money that migrant workers send home. Theorizing the concept of remittances as a heuristic for reading the interconnection between circulations of labor and value on the one hand, and circulations of ideas and texts on the other, the book uncovers the surprising role that English-language lite­rature played in the 20th-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, 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. Examining the coevolution of Cold War neoliberalism and the global knowledge economy, this project turns to Asian American literature to uncover a racial history of automation, logistics, and human capital. A chapter from this project, on how Chicago School human capital theory remade the model minority myth, is forthcoming from Representations (August 2023).


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.