Nadine Attewell (she/her)

Associate Professor

AQ 5091

As a scholar of empire, intimacy, and Asian and Asian diasporic life, my work is feminist, queer, anticolonial, and antiracist in methodology and orientation, and informed by my positioning as a second-generation settler of Chinese descent. My first book, Better Britons: Reproduction, National Identity, and the Afterlife of Empire, investigates the centrality of reproduction to postimperial projects of governance and nation-building through readings of twentieth-century literature and policy from Australia, Britain, and New Zealand, and was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2014. I'm currently working on a SSHRC-funded second book, entitled Archives of Intimacy: Racial Mixing and Asian Lives in the Colonial Port City, about Chinese practices of interracial intimacy and multiracial community under British colonial rule. Here, I delve into the heterogeneous social worlds that flourished in port cities like Hong Kong, London, and Liverpool during the first half of the twentieth century, developing vivid accounts of port city life pieced together from a range of archival materials, including photography, community and family histories, and wartime intelligence reports, that testify to the reach and limits of empire as a structure of meaning. After many years away, I’m excited to have returned to the Lower Mainland, where I was born and grew up (on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm land/in Richmond, to be more precise).


PhD, English Literature, Cornell University (2006)
MA, English Literature, Cornell University (2003)
BA Honours, English and History, University of Toronto (2000)


“Between Asia and Empire: Infrastructures of Encounter in the Archive of War” (with Wesley Attewell). Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, vol. 20, no. 2, 2019, pp. 162-179.

“Local Knowledge: Of Homecomings and Orientations.” BC Studies 198, Summer 2018, pp. 25-26.

“Intimacy Out of Doors: Labor, Landscape, and Chinese Diasporic Practices of Looking.” Photography and Migration, edited by Tanya Sheehan, Routledge, 2018, pp. 199-215.

“Looking in Stereo: School Photography, Interracial Intimacy, and the Pulse of the Archive.” Asian

Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas, vol. 4, no. 1-4, 2018, pp. 19-44.

“Not the Asian You Had in Mind: Race, Precarity, and Academic Labor.” English Language Notes vol. 54, no. 2, 2016, pp. 183-190.

“The Return of the Native: White Supremacy, Indigenous Rights, and the Struggle for Britain.” TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 35, 2016, pp. 173-197.

“Loving Revolutions: Reading Mixed Race at Mid-Century.” Around 1945: Literature, Citizenship, Rights, edited by Allan Hepburn, McGill University Press, 2016, pp. 216-239.

“‘For Karnak 1923/From London 1942’: Approaching War in H. D.’s The Walls Do Not Fall.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature vol. 34, no. 2, 2016, pp. 1-27.

Better Britons: Reproduction, National Identity, and the Afterlife of Empire. University of Toronto Press, 2014.

Other links


Summer 2024

Future courses may be subject to change.