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Jian Chen

Jian Chen

Jian Chen

Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
They/them/their and he/him/his


308B Dulles Hall
230 Annie and John Glenn Ave, Columbus, OH 43210

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Areas of Expertise

  • Transgender and queer studies
  • Asian/Pacific Islander/American studies
  • Relational racial and indigenous analysis
  • Literature, film, performance and digital media
  • Decolonial, diasporic and transnational approaches


  • PhD, Comparative Literature, University of California – Irvine
  • BA, Ethnic Studies and English, University of California – Berkeley

Jian Neo Chen is associate professor of queer studies in the departments of English and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Chen is affiliate faculty in the Film Studies program and a previous director of Asian American Studies (Autumn 2020) and Sexuality Studies (2017-2018) programs. Their research focuses on transgender and queer aesthetics and embodied practices in literature, visual culture and contemporary theory and their reimagining and reconstruction of social relations and movements. Their first book, Trans Exploits: Trans of Color Cultures and Technologies in Movement (Duke University Press, 2019), explores the displaced emergences of trans of color cultural expression and activism through performance, film/video, literature and digital media by the second decade of the twenty-first century, following fifty years of minimal civil rights reforms and renewed state and social technologies of racial gendering. Trans Exploits received the 2021 Association for Asian American Studies Book Award in Social Sciences and was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist in LGBTQ Studies in 2020. Chen is working on two new books. The first engages with lineages of Asian American and Asian diasporic queer and feminist thought to develop a racial trans/disciplinary methodology attuned to the literary and visual sensorium of Asian American trans and gender variant political experience. The second explores the potential autonomy of trans* literature within and outside the aesthetic, political and scientific orders of US and Western European settler racial capitalism. Their research, teaching, writing and culture building seek resonances with movements for gender, sexual, indigenous and racial liberation across different sectors and territories of the transnational US empire. 

Chen serves as a co-editor in the new ASTERISK book series at Duke University Press with Susan Stryker and Eliza Steinbock. They have been an editorial board member of the Transgender Studies Quarterly since 2015. Chen was an invited visiting scholar at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University in Spring 2012. Before joining Ohio State, they were assistant professor and postdoctoral fellow at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study from 2009 to 2011. Their curated transmedia projects have screened with the 6-8 Months Project, hosted by Kara Walker Studios in New York City; the New York MIX 24 Queer Experimental Film Festival; the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus and the NYU Asian/Pacific/ American Institute. Before graduate studies, Chen developed and organized a popular literacy, workplace rights program for Asian immigrant women working in informal garment, electronics, hotel and restaurant economies in Oakland, CA. They also produced community events and raised funds to counter state, public and interpersonal violence impacting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Selected Publications 

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