Karen Kuo

Faculty Head, Associate Professor
TEMPE Campus


Karen Kuo is an associate professor in the School of Social Transformation. Her current work focuses on the geopolitical and cultural representations of Asia and Asians in films and novels of early twentieth century America. Her work examines how U.S. narratives about Asia and Asian migration culturally defined US understandings of the foreign and the domestic. She was also the lead principal investigator for the International Nikkei Legacy Project (INRP) sponsored in part by the Japanese American National Museum. The INRP creates and maintains a database of international Nikkei sources in Arizona and interfaces with the global Japanese diaspora project of the museum.

Kuo's teaching and research interests include Asian American film and literature, film studies, 20th-century American literature, film theory, immigrant literature, postcolonial theory and cultural studies. Kuo has taught a variety of courses that include modern twentieth-century literature, and Asian American literature, film and media, and history. She delivers speeches and talks on the role of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in US history and culture to private and public organizations and groups within Arizona. In addition she is co-editing "Japanese Americans in Arizona." Her future work will explore the formation of Taiwanese American communities and identity during the Cold War.


M.A. University of California-Riverside

Research Interests

Asian American film and literature, film theory and film studies, twentieth-century American literature, and Cultural studies.


  • Karen Kuo. East is West and West is East: Gender, Culture, and Interwar Encounters between Asia and America. (2013).
  • Karen Kuo. "The Shanghai Gesture: Melodrama and Modern Women in the East/West Romance". Quarterly Review of Film and Video (2012).
  • Karen Kuo. "The Meaning of "Festival" in Arizona: Asian and Pacific Islander Festivals and Community Identity". The State of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Arizona (Office of Public Affairs at Arizona State University) (2008).

Research Activity

  • Leong,Karen*, Kuo,Karen Jean. Discover Nikkei Website (ASU APAS Collaboration with JANM Nikkei Legacy Project). Japanese Amer. Natl Museum(11/30/2005 - 3/31/2006).


Spring 2020
Course Number Course Title
APA 330 Asian Pacific American Genders
APA 493 Honors Thesis
APA 499 Individualized Instruction
WST 790 Reading and Conference
Summer 2017
Course Number Course Title
APA 345 Asian Pacific Americans & Film
Spring 2016
Course Number Course Title
APA 200 Intro/Asian Pacif Amer Studies
APA 345 Asian Pacific Americans & Film
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Title
TCL 210 Intro to Ethnic Studies in US
JUS 210 Intro to Ethnic Studies in US
APA 210 Intro to Ethnic Studies in US
AFR 212 Intro to Ethnic Studies in US
WST 691 Seminar


  • Karen Kuo. "Utopias Lost and Found: The Reinvention of Masculinity in a New Global US Empire in Frank Capras Lost Horizon". American Studies Association Annual Meeting (Nov 2012).
  • Kuo, Karen. Re-Visioning Asian American Racial Formations: Class, Gender and Citizenship in Younghill Kangs East Goes West. Twelfth Annual LatCrit Conference (Oct 2007).
  • Kuo, Karen. Crossing Paths: Asian and Native American Intersectionality. American Studies Association Annual Meeting: Am�rica Aqu�:Transhemispheric Visions and Community Connections (Oct 2007).
  • Kuo, Karen. Insights from Asian American Studies. Northern Arizona University Diversity Education Symposium (Oct 2007).


  • Film and Media Studies at ASU/Graduate School Committee, Committee member (2010 - 2011)
  • Chinese Undergraduate Student Association (CHUSA), Speaker (2010 - 2010)
  • City of Phoenix Planning Department, Speaker (2010 - 2010)
  • Arizona Pacific Rim Advisory Council, Speaker (2009 - 2009)
  • Ying Fan Wu Asian American and Pacific Islander Student Scholarship, Chair and Organizer (2008 - 2008)