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, Marxism, and 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."

In January 2023, I was elected Delegate Representative (2023–26) for Literary Theory and Method at the Modern Language Association.


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 20th- and 21st-century fiction, 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 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, 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 coevolution of Cold War neoliberalism and the global 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.

Current PhD advisees Lauren Bunce (English; exam field: “Theories of Gender, Sexuality, and Race”); Kierra Duncan (English; exam field: “Philosophies of History: Empire, Culture, and Modernity”); Paola Del Toro (English; exam field: “Racial Capitalism”); Christopher Cañete Rodriguez Kelly (English, University of Wisconsin-Madison; external dissertation committee member).

Past Becca N. Liu, “Contract Spirit: Race, Labor, and Social Reproduction after the Coolie Trade" (Placement: Assistant Professor of English, University of Maryland, Fall 2023).