Mel Chen

Associate Professor, Department of Gender & Women's Studies
University of California, Berkeley

CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies
Website
melychen@berkeley.edu

Mel Y. Chen is Associate Professor of Gender & Women's Studies at U.C. Berkeley and an affiliate of the Center for Race and Gender and the Institute for Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences.

Their research and teaching interests include queer and gender theory, animal studies, critical race theory and Asian American studies, disability studies, science studies, and critical linguistics. Chen’s 2012 book, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Duke University Press, winner of Alan Bray Award from Modern Language Association’s GL/Q Caucus), explores questions of racialization, queering, disability, and affective economies in animate and inanimate “life” through the extended concept of “animacy.” A second book project concerns the relationships among the conceptual territories of “toxicity” and “intoxication” and their involvement in histories of the shared interanimation of race and disability. Further writing on topics such as cognitive disability and method, animal gendering in film, the racialization of pollution, and queer intimacies can be found in the journals Women’s Studies QuarterlyGLQ, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Discourse, Women in PerformanceAustralian Feminist StudiesAmerasia, Worldviews, and Medical Humanities (forthcoming). A co-edited special issue (with Dana Luciano) of GLQ on “Queer Inhumanisms” appeared in early 2015. With Jasbir K. Puar, Chen coedits a book series entitled “Anima,” highlighting scholarship in critical race and disability post/in/humanisms at Duke University Press. Chen served a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Society for Disability Studies, ending in 2016.

In the Fall of 2009, Mel convened “Species Spectacles”, a U.C. Humanities Research Institute Residential Research Group focused on animality, sexuality and race. Chen’s short film, Local Grown Corn (2007), explores interweavings of immigration, childhood, illness and friendship; it has played in both asian and queer film festivals.

last updated: December 7th, 2017