Lily Cho

Associate Professor, English, York University

Professor Cho’s research focuses on diasporic subjectivity within the fields of cultural studies, postcolonial literature and theory, Asian North American and Canadian literature, and the emerging field of diaspora studies. Exploring a wide range of texts and contexts—from the small town Chinese Canadian restaurant, to contemporary Asian North American literature, to nineteenth-century Chinese pirates—she is concerned with the conditions of diasporic subjectivity. Through literary and cultural studies, her research explores the conditions and substance of longings and connections. She is currently conducting research on a set of Chinese Canadian head tax certificates, known as “C.I. 9’s.” These certificates mark one of the first uses of identification photography in Canada. Drawing from this archive, Professor Cho’s current research explores the relationship between citizenship, photography, and anticipation as a mode of agency. 

Selected Publications

Co-authored with Anita Lam, “Under the Lucky Moose: Belatedness and Citizen’s Arrest in Canada.” Canadian Journal of Law and Society 30, no. 1 (April 2015): 147-62.

Co-edited with Susan J. Henders, Human Rights and the Arts: Perspectives on Global Asia, Global Encounters: Studies in Comparative Political Theory (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014).

“Anticipating Citizenship: Chinese Head Tax Photographs,” Feeling Photography, eds. Elspeth Brown and Thy Phu (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014): 158-80.  

“Redress Revisited: Citizenship and the Chinese Canadian Head Tax,” Reconciling Canada: Historical Injustices and the Contemporary Culture of Redress, eds. Jennifer Henderson and Pauline Wakeham (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013): 87-99.

“The Passport: the Politics of Place of Birth,” The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities, eds. Peter Adey, David Bissell, Kevin Hannam, Peter Merriman, and Mimi Sheller (London: Routledge, 2013): 335-44. 

“Intimacy Among Strangers: Anticipating Citizenship in Chinese Head Tax Photographs,” special issue: Postcolonial Intimacies, Interventions 15, no. 1 (2013): 10-23.

“Underwater Signposts: Richard Fung’s Islands and Enabling Nostalgia.” Cultural Grammars of Nation, Diaspora and Indigeneity in Canada, eds. Sophie McCall, Christine Kim and Melina Baum Singer (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2012): 191-205.

“The Materiality of Melancholia: Madeleine Thien’s Simple Recipes,” Narratives of Citizenship, eds. Nancy Van Styvendale and Aloys Fleischman (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2011): 107-28.

Eating Chinese: Culture on the Menu in Small Town Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010).

“Citizenship and the Bonds of Affect: the Passport Photograph,” Photography and Culture 2.3 (November 2009): 275-288.

 “Asian Canadian Futures: Indenture Routes and Diasporic Passages,” Canadian Literature 199 (2009): 181-201.

 “Future Perfect Loss: Richard Fung’s Sea in the Blood,” Screen 49.4 (2008): 426-439.

The Diasporic Turn: Diaspora as a Condition of Subjectivity,” Topia 17 (2007): 11-30.


Lily Cho
Associate Professor, Department of English
York University
Stong College, 353
4700 Keele St.
Toronto, ON
M3J 1P3