UBC Department of English
Graduate Faculty

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Lai, Larissa

Associate Professor

Degrees: B.A. Hons. (Br. Col.), M.A. (East Anglia), Ph.D. (Calg.)
Office: BuTo 526
Telephone Office: 604-822-2096
email: Larissa.Lai@ubc.ca
Home Page: http://larissalai.com


Teaching and Research Interests

Canadian Literature, Critical Theory, Contemporary Poetics, Speculative Fiction



Current Research

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.


Selected Publications