Chad Shomura Picture
Assistant Professor
Political Science

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Expertise Areas

Contemporary and modern political thought, Asian American studies, queer theory, affect, race, biopolitics, aesthetics, new materialism and vitalism, the human


My research and teaching in political theory focus on affect as a lens into uneven conditions of living and dying shaped by race, gender, sexuality, coloniality, and materiality. I am working on two major research projects. A Life Otherwise explores how the good life, in addition to establishing how life ought to be lived, advances a particular, exclusionary notion of what life is. The book retrieves minor figurations of life that do not comport with property relations, order, optimized bodily capacity and longevity, reproductive intimacy, and survival. The Yellow Commons investigates how prospects of ecological collapse have unsettled dominant understandings of the human, life, and futurity. It imagines ethical and political activity through new materialisms and vitalisms, process philosophy, posthumanisms and multi-species studies, and Asian American and Indigenous studies.

Selected Publications

  • “Imperial Debris, Vibrant Matter: Asian American and Native Hawaiian Artistic Engagements with Plastic.” Empire and Environment: Confronting Ecological Ruin in Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas, edited by Rina Garcia Chua, Heidi Hong, Jeffrey Santa Ana, and Xiaojing Zhou. University of Michigan Press. Forthcoming.
  • “Cultivating the Weeds.” Social Text Online. Forthcoming.
  • “Object Theory and Asian American Literature.” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature and Culture. 2020.
  • “The Dehuman Condition.” Forum on Julietta Singh, Unthinking Mastery: Dehumanism and Decolonial EntanglementsSyndicate. 2020.
  • "Exploring the Promise of New Materialisms." Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association Vol. 5, No. 1. 2017.
  • "New Humanisms.” Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences Vol. 25, Nos. 1-2. 2016.

Courses Taught

  • American Political Thought
  • Modern Political Thought
  • Gender and Politics
  • Theories of Social and Political Change
  • The Politics of Life and Death
  • The Politics of Objects