Leland Tabares is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies. His work centers on literature, labor, and racialization in twentieth- and twenty-first-century American culture. His book project, Professionalizing Asian America: Race and Labor in the Twenty-First Century, traces how Asian Americans’ increasing representation in a diverse range of contemporary industry professions—from the university and the modern restaurant industry to the Silicon Valley tech industry and digital media platforms like YouTube—enculturates new conceptions of race, ethnicity, and belonging. His research spans American literary studies, cultural studies, critical race and ethnic studies, media studies, food studies, and theories of labor and popular culture. His work is published and forthcoming in Profession, Arizona Quarterly, Journal of Asian American Studies, Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association, and Hyphen.
Tabares has also made contributions to his field through his editorial and service work. He was the Managing Editor for Verge: Studies in Global Asias, an award-winning journal in Asian and Asian American Studies published by the University of Minnesota Press. Verge won the 2020 PROSE Award from the Association of American Publishers and the 2016 award for Best New Journal from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. He served on the Executive Board for the Association for Asian American Studies, co-leading the mentorship and membership committees and coordinating professional development workshops for junior faculty. Currently, he serves on the Advisory Board for the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies.
Recently, Tabares was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Contemporary American Literature in the Department of English at Washington University in St. Louis, where he taught courses on American fiction, labor, mobility and migration, media and film, and multiethnic graphic novels. While at WashU, he organized a visiting faculty speaker series through the Asian American Studies Minor Program, and served as a faculty advisor in the American Culture Studies Program for a senior capstone project that mapped queer and trans Asian American zine cultures from the 1960s to the present. He was also a secondary faculty advisor for a senior capstone project in the English Department on the contemporary Asian American novel.
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
M.A., Pennsylvania State University
B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
AAS 100: Introduction to Asian American Studies
AAS 120: Introduction to Asian American Popular Culture
AAS 200: U.S. Race and Empire: The Global Circuits of Asian America
AAS 215: American Misfits: Rebels, Punks, and Outsiders
"Misfit Professionals: Asian American Chefs and Restaurateurs in the Twenty-First Century." Arizona Quarterly 77.2 (Summer 2021).
“Professional Amateurs: Asian American Content Creators in YouTube’s Digital Economy.” Journal of Asian American Studies 22.3 (October 2019): 387-417.
“Professionalization and the Precarious State of Academic Freedom for Graduate Student Instructors.” Profession (Winter 2019).
“The Contexts of Critique: Para-Institutions & the Multiple Lives of Institutionality in the Neoliberal University.” Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association (Spring 2017).
"Gish Jen's Resistant Possibilities: On Black Fugitivity, Coalitional Care, and Baseball." Solicited review of The Resisters by Gish Jen, Hyphen (October 2020).
Review of Asian American Media Activism: Fighting for Cultural Citizenship, by Lori Kido Lopez, Journal of Asian American Studies 21.3 (October 2018): 488-491.
Managing Editor, Special Issue on Asian Empires and Imperialism, Verge: Studies in Global Asias 2.2 (Fall 2016).
Managing Editor, Special Issue on Asian Urbanisms and Urbanization, Verge: Studies in Global Asias 2.1 (Spring 2016).
Managing Editor, Special Issue on Collecting Asias, Verge: Studies in Global Asias 1.2 (Fall 2015)