UBC Department of English
Degrees: B.A. Hons. (Br. Col.), M.A. (East Anglia), Ph.D. (Calg.)
Office: BuTo 526
Telephone Office: 604-822-2096
Home Page: http://larissalai.com
Teaching and Research Interests
Canadian Literature, Critical Theory, Contemporary Poetics, Speculative Fiction
I am on the verge of sending off the manuscript for my first critical book Slanting “I”, Imagining “We”; Asian Canadian Cultural Production in the 80s and 90s. That project lays out the conundrum of liberatory reclamations of the racist name and looks at the cultural strategies employed by writers, artists, editorial collectives and conference organizing committees in Canada in the 80s and 90s to engage the problem and to produce writing, books and gatherings.
My currently critical project, Automatic Bodies: Extra-Human Subjectivities in the Time of Global Capital, follows the first in its engagement of the problem of self-fashioning. In this post-9-11 moment, I engage Appadurai’s concept of global flows as a more useful frame than the state to understand how subjects are produced under high mobile capital. Specifically, I address the ways we are collectivized at the level of bodily functions, but shattered at the level of the body. The subject is no longer discrete or enclosed.
I am also working on a range of creative projects—a chapbook called Eggs in the Basement, forthcoming from Nomodos, which emerged from an automatic writing plus vocabulary exhaustion exercise and tells the story of Moses and Monotheism; a collaborative long poem called sybil unrest with Rita Wong, forthcoming from Line Books this fall; and a solo collection of poetry entitled Automaton Biographies. There is also a long-neglected third novel on the the backburner.
Multidisciplinary or Collaborative Projects
I currently hold an Early Career Scholar Fellowship at the Peter Wall Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies. No concrete projects yet, except for a plan for a co-taught science and science-writing course that I’ve been batting around with Eric Lagally from the Michael Smith Labs.
I have an ongoing collaborative relationship with the poet, scholar and activist Rita Wong. We’ve just finished our first book together, and are working on a second project about water.
- Sybil Unrest. (Co-authored with Rita Wong.) Vancouver: Line Books, 2009.
- When Fox Is a Thousand. (With new afterword.) Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004.
- Salt Fish Girl. Toronto: Thomas Allen Publishers, 2002.
- When Fox Is a Thousand. Vancouver: Press Gang, 1995.
- “Community Action, Global Spillage: Writing the Race of Capital.” Citizenship special issue of West Coast Line. Ed. Sophie McCall. Forthcoming 2008.
- “Strategizing the Body of History: Anxious Writing, Absent Subjects, and Marketing the
Nation.” Asian Canadian Writing Beyond Autoethnography. Eds. Eleanor Ty and
Chrystl Verdun. Waterloo: WLUP, 2008. 87-114.
- “Butterfly Prostheses and the Reproductive Mouth: Chains of Association in David
Khang’s Mediamorphosis.” David Khang: How to Feed a Piano: La Monte Young
Projects 2003 - 2008. Vancouver: Centre A, 2008. 29-37.
- “Brand Canada: Oppositional Politics, Global Flows and a People to Come.” Reading(s)
from a Distance: European Perspectives on Canadian Women’s Writing. Eds. Charlotte von Sturgess and Martin Kuester. Augsburg: Wissner-Verlag, 2008. 23-32.
- “Future Asians: Migrant Speculations, Repressed History and Cyborg Hope.” West
Coast Line 38:2 (2004): 168-175. (Spec. issue on my work.)
- “Political Animals and the Body of History.” The Broadview Anthology of Expository
Prose. eds. Tammy Roberts et al. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2002. 587-596.
- “Corrupted Lineage: Narrative in the Gaps of History.” In-Equations: can asia pacific. Spec. issue of West Coast Line 33 (2001): 40-53.
- “Yellow Peril: Revisited.” Capilano Review 2.34 (2001): 6-10. Foreword. Other Conundrums. By Monika Kin Gagnon. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2000. 15-20.
- “Asian Invasion vs. the Pristine Nation: Migrants Enter the Canadian Imaginary.” Fuse Magazine. 23.2. (2000): 30-40.
- “Political Animals and the Body of History.” Canadian Literature 163 (1999): 145-156.
- “The Sixth Sensory Organ.” Bringing It Home: Women Talk About Feminism in Their Lives. Vancouver, Arsenal Pulp Press, 1996. 199-218.
- “The Site of Memory.” Video re/View: The (best) Source Book on Canadian Artists’ Video. Eds. Peggy Gale and Lisa Steele. Toronto: Vtape, 1996. 344-350.
- “I Love Liver: A Romance,” Year’s Best SF 11. Eds. David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. New York: EOS, 2006. 176-179.
- “I Love Liver: A Romance.” Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. 434 (2005): 940.
- “Rachel.” So Long Been Dreaming: Post-colonial Science Fiction and Fantasy. Eds. Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004. 53-60.
- “The Combing.” Girls Who Bite Back: Witches, Slayers, Mutants and Freaks. Ed. Emily Pohl-Weary. Toronto: Sumach Press, 2004. 336-344.
- “Two Houses and an Airplane.” Strike the Wok: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Canadian Fiction. Eds. Lien Chao and Jim Wong-Chu. Toronto: TSAR, 2003. 1-18.
- “The Salt Fish Girl.” Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America. Eds. Quang Bao and Hanya Yanagihara. New York: Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 2000. 117-122.
- “Fish Bones.” Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America. Eds. Quang Bao and Hanya Yanagihara. New York: Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 2000. 123-131.
- “Pomegranate Tree.” Carnal Nation: Brave New Sex Fictions. Eds. Carellin Brooks and Brett Josef Grubisic. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2000. 121-129.
- “The Salt Fish Girl.” Seductive Feminisms/Féminismes séduisants. Spec. issue of Tessera 25 (1998/1999): 11-17.
- “S.” Prairie Asians. Spec. issue of absinthe. 10.1 (1998): 3-15.
- “April’s New Apartment.” Asian Pacific Authors on the Prairies. Spec. issue of Prairie Fire. 18.4 (1997): 23-28.
- “The Salt Fish Girl.” Filling Station. 11/12 (1997): 18-23.
- “When Fox Is a Thousand.” Urban Fictions. Vancouver: Presentation House Gallery, 1997. 40-41.
- “The Peacock Hen.” Eye Wuz Here. Ed. Shannon Cooley. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 1996. 180-184.
- “The Voice of the Blind Concubine.” The Body. Spec. issue of The Asian Pacific American Journal. 5.1 (1996): 93-98.
- “Water, and other Measures of Distance.” Into the Fire: Asian American Prose. Eds. Sylvia Watanabe and Carol Bruchac. New York: Greenfield Review Press, 1996. 21-32.
- “The Home Body.” Trans. Nicolas Grandmangin. Estuaire. 75 (1994): 33-44.
- “New Reeboks.” Colour. An Issue. Eds. Roy Miki and Fred Wah. Spec. issue of West Coast Line. 28.1-2 (1994): 122-128.
- “From Goodbye Butterfly, Hello Kitty: An Opiate Opera.” Open Text: Canadian Poetry in the 21st Century. Vol. 1. Vancouver: CUE, 2008.
- “digital signals, global snows: travelling asia with rm and community.” Miki. Spec. issue of West Coast Line. 57.42 (2008), 102-104.
- “From Goodbye Butterfly, Hello Kitty: An Opiate Opera.” Cross-Cultural Poetics. 19 (2008): 10-21.
- “Ham.” West Coast Line. 54.41 (2007): 69-83.
- “from Nascent Fashion.” Walrus. 3.5 (2006): 95.
- “from Nascent Fashion.” Post-Prairie Anthology. Eds. Jon Paul Fiorentino and Robert Kroestch, Vancouver: Talonbooks: 2005. 86-87.
- “Rachel.” Switch and Shift: New Canadian Poetry. Eds. Derek Beaulieu, Jason Christie and Angela Rawlings, Toronto: The Mercury Press, 2005. 82-84.
- “from Maria.” West Coast Line. 38.2 (2004): 6-10.
- “from Rachel.” West Coast Line. 38.2 (2004): 12-15.
- With Rita Wong. “sybil unrest.” West Coast Line. 38.2 (2004): 39-61.
- “i see double.” Literary Review of Canada. 12.6 (2004): 16.
- “burgess quarry.” Ribsauce. Eds. Taien Ng-Chan et al. Montreal: Vehicule Press, 2001.
- “white snake.” Ribsauce. Eds. Taien Ng-Chan et al. Montreal: Vehicule Press, 2001. 143-144.
- “amnion.” Swallowing Clouds. Eds. Andy Quan and Jim Wong-Chu. Vancouver:
Arsenal Pulp Press, 1999. 134.
- “fish ball girl.” Swallowing Clouds. Eds. Andy Quan and Jim Wong-Chu. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1999. 135.
- “upsidedown poem.” Swallowing Clouds. Eds. Andy Quan and Jim Wong-Chu.
Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1999. 136-138.
- “dispersing: an i ching poem.” Swallowing Clouds. Eds. Andy Quan and Jim Wong-Chu. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1999. 139-142.
- “asian bird flu.” Swallowing Clouds. Eds. Andy Quan and Jim Wong-Chu. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1999. 143-144.