My research centers on questions of race and identity in Malaysian literature and culture, and is informed by my upbringing in Malaysia, Singapore, and Honolulu. My current book project, Malaysian Multiculturalism: Reading Race in Contemporary Literature & Culture, analyzes a new cultural archive from Malaysia consisting of Indigenous (Orang Asal) oral histories and multimedia texts, as well as novels, films, and public performances by Malay, Chinese, and Indian artists. This project examines how cultural producers are reimagining multicultural citizenship across a diverse range of genres and contexts. My work has been published in ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, The Diplomat, The Conversation, and The Malaysian Insider. In the classroom, I teach Asian American, Postcolonial, and World Literature, focusing in particular on histories of colonization and decolonization, and the modes through which writers articulate agency and creativity. I was appointed to Governor Tom Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs in December 2019, and serve as chair of the Schools that Teach committee.


Ph.D., English, The University of Texas at Austin

M.A., English, The University of Texas at Austin

B.A., English (Highest Honors) & Religion, The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa


Journal Articles

“Diagnosing Malaysian Multiculturalism: Jo Kukathas and ‘The 1Malaysia Virus,’” Verge: Studies in Global Asias, Special Issue 6.1: “Displaced Subjects,” 2020.

Highland Tales in the Heart of Borneo: Postcolonial Capitalism, Multiculturalism, & Survivance,” ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, Special Issue 49.4: “Literature & Postcolonial Capitalism,” 2018.

Encyclopedia Article

“Malaysian American Culture.” Encyclopedia of Asian American Culture: From Anime to Tiger Moms. Ed. Lan Don. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2016.


“Time to Embrace, Not Shun, Malaysia’s Migrant Community.” The Diplomat, May 2020.

“Malaysians Worldwide Demand Prime Minister’s Resignation.” The Conversation, Sept. 2015

“Najib & Barisan – Failing 1Malaysia.” The Malaysian Insider,  Nov. 2014

Blog Posts

    Sheela Jane Menon

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