UCL English


Dr Xine Yao

Email: christine.yao@ucl.ac.uk
External phone: 020 7679 3121
Internal phone: 33121
Office: Foster Court 249
Iris profile

Co-Director, qUCL
Advisory Group, UCL Sarah Parker Remond Center
UCL Race Equality Steering Group

Featured on UCL Spotlight

Dr. Christine 'Xine' Yao


Xine Yao hails from Toronto, Canada (B.A. Trinity College at the University of Toronto, M.A. Dalhousie University, M.A. Cornell University, Ph.D. Cornell University). She joined UCL in 2018 as Lecturer in American Literature in English to 1900. Xine is co-director of qUCL.

Xine is a BBC Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinker.  For 2021-2024 she represents the LLC 19th-Century American Forum to the Delegate Assembly of the Modern Language Association. She was elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the LLC 19th-Century American Forum for the Modern Language Association 2024-2029. She previously served on the Executive Committee of C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists. She is the co-host of PhDivas, a podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/humanities divide. Xine is the founding chair of the podcast initiative for C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists

Research Interests

Xine’s primary research focuses on early and nineteenth-century American literature through affect theory, critical race and ethnic studies, and feminist and queer of colour theory. Her interests include histories of science and law, literatures in English from the Black and Asian diasporas, science fiction, the Gothic, comics/graphic novels, and digital humanities. Xine’s publications explore solidarity and comparative racialization between Black, Asian, and Indigenous peoples.

Cover image of Disaffected: The Cultural Politics of Unfeeling by Xine Yao

Their first book is Disaffected: The Cultural Politics of Unfeeling in Nineteenth Century America (Duke University Press 2021) in the influential Perverse Modernities series edited by J Halberstam and Lisa Lowe. 

  • Robert K Martin Book Prize, Canadian Association of American Studies
  • Duke University Press's Scholars of Color First Book Award 
  • Arthur Miller First Book Prize Honourable Mention, British Association of American Studies
  • University English Book Prize Shortlist

Read the introduction for free here.

Recent Awards 

  • 2021 Highly Commended Award, Provost's Award for Embedding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, UCL
  • 2019-2020 UCL-University of Toronto Global Engagement Office Research Collaboration Grant "Comparative Settler Colonialisms in Global Contexts" with Professor Melissa Gniadek (University of Toronto)
  • 2019 UCL Student Choice Teaching Award for Diverse and Inclusive Education
  • 2019 UCL Grand Challenges Grant, Theme: Embedded Inequalities. Collaborative Project: “Trans Studies, Trans Lives: Past, Present, and Future” symposium bringing together interdisciplinary trans studies research and the lived experiences along with creative work from the UCL trans community. Co-organizers: Dr. Ella Metcalfe (Maths and Physical Sciences), Dr. Ezra Horbury (English)
  • 2019-2020 Targeted Research Panel Grant, British Association of American Studies, “Definitions Toward Solidarity: BAME Americanists in the UK and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies,” 2 year collaboration co-organized with Dr. Christine Okoth (Warwick)
  • 2018 Yasuo Sakakibara Essay Prize from the American Studies Association for best paper by an international scholar at the annual conference. "(Un)Sympathetic Babo: Blackness, Science, and the Sympathetic Politics of Recognition." 



Desire and Asian Diasporic Fiction: On the Representative Status of Onoto Watanna's Miss Nume of Japan (1899)." American Literary History. Special issue: Democracy and the American Novel. Eds. Gordon Hutner and Rachel Greenwald Smith. 35.1 (2023): 97-112.

Arctic and Asian Indigeneities, Asian/North American Settler/Colonialism: Animating Intimacies and Counterintimacies in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Journal of Asian American Studies. 24.3 (2021): 471-504.

#staywoke: Digital Engagement and Literacies in Anti-Racist Pedagogy.” American Quarterly. Special issue: Toward a Critically Engaged Digital Practice. 70.3 (2018). 439-454. Finalist for the American Studies Association's 2019 Constance M. Rourke Prize for best article in American Quarterly.

“Black-Asian Counterintimacies: Reading Sui Sin Far in Jamaica.” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists. 6.1 (2018). 197-202.

“Black, Red, and Yellow: Cross-Racial Coalitions and Conflicts in the Early African American Scientific Imagination.” Occasion: Interdisciplinary Humanities Journal, ARCADE @ Stanford. Special Issue: “Biologism and Identity.” Eds. David Palumbo-Liu and Jenny Wills. 11 (2018): 1-11.

 “Visualizing Race Science in Benito Cereno.” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists. 3.1 (2015): 130-137.

Chapters in Edited Collections

“Gender Variance Before Trans.” The Cambridge History of Queer American Literature. Ed. Benjamin A Kahan. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2023. 

“Feminist Theory, Feminist Criticism, and the Sex/Gender Distinction.” The Cambridge Companion to American Literature and the Body. Ed. Travis Foster. Cambridge University Press, 2022. 135-149.

“Femmes in Science: Queer Erasure and the Politics of Dress in Nineteenth Century America.”  Gender in American Literature and Culture. Eds. Jennifer Harris and Jean Lutes. Cambridge University Press, 2021. 237-254.

“The Craft: QTBIPOC Tarot in Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s Skim.” Q&A 2.0: Voices from Queer Asian North America. Eds. Kale B. Fajardo, Alice Y. Hom, and Martin F. Manalansan. Temple University Press, 2021. 364-372.

  • Finalist for the 2022 LGBTQ Anthology Award from Lambda Literary

“Babo’s Skull, Aranda’s Skeleton: Visualizing the Sentimentality of Race Science in Benito Cereno.” Race and Vision in the Nineteenth-Century United States. Ed. Shirley Samuels. Lexington Books, 2019.

“Gothic Monstrosity: Charles Brockden Brown’s Edgar Huntly and the Trope of the Bestial Indian.” American Gothic Culture: An Edinburgh Companion. Eds. Joel Faflak and Jason Haslam. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2015. 25-43.

Reviews and Introductions

Review of Thomas Koenigs, Founded in Fiction: The Uses of Fiction in the Early United States. Eighteenth Century Fiction 35.1 (2023).

Review of Maile Arvin, Possessing Polynesians: The Science of Settler Colonial Whiteness in Hawai’i and Oceania. Journal of Asian American Studies. 24.2 (2021): 337-340.

“Eugenics and Empire: Trans Studies in the UK.” With Ezra Horbury. Transgender Studies Quarterly. 7.3 (2020): 445-454.

Review of Sara Ahmed, What’s the Use? On the Uses of Use. European Journal of Women’s Studies. 27.2 (2020): 200-203.

“From Necessity to Nuance: How Edith Maude Eaton Became Sui Sin Far, a Case Study.” Review of Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism, and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton, edited by Mary Chapman, in Common-place: The Journal of Early American Life 18.2 (2018): ~1500 words.

“Life as a Feminist Academic.” Review of Erin Wunker, Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life, Canadian Literature 232 (Spring 2017): 177-178.

“Sodomy and Settler Colonialism: Early American Original Sins.” Introduction to Samuel Danforth’s The Cry of Sodom Enquired Into; Upon Occasion of the Arraignment and Commendation of Benjamin Goad, for His Prodigious Villany (1674), Common-place: The Journal of Early American Life 17.3 (2017): ~500 words.

Review of Mel Y. Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. College Literature. 41.3 (2014): 149-151.