Transnational American Studies

My work in transnational American studies contextualizes cultural production of the United States within a global context, recognizing how global cultures influence American literature and visual culture, and vice-versa. It also includes work in African American and Asian American, often in a comparative fashion. I have written on work by African American writers, including Ishmael Reed, Paul Beatty, Nella Larsen, W.E.B. Du Bois, George Schuyler and Octavia Butler as well as on work by Asian American writers, including Lawson Inada, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Frank Chin.

Given the interdisciplinary nature of American studies, I have also examined the photography of James Van Der Zee, the art of Jacob Lawrence and iona rozeal brown and films that range from indie films such as Ping Pong Playa to franchises such as The Matrix.


Comparative Ethnic Studies

Beyond ‘The Chinese Connection”: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production interrogates cross-cultural dynamics within a transnational context.  As a result of such films as Enter the Dragon (1973), The Chinese Connection (1972) and The Big Boss (1971), Bruce Lee emerges as both a cross-cultural hero and global cultural icon who resonates with the experiences of African American, Asian American and Hong Kong youth, experiences impacted by the rise of a global economy in the 1970s. Drawing on theories of cosmopolitanism and hybridity, I argue that Lee’s films prefigure themes that reflect cross-cultural negotiations with global culture for post-1990 Afro-Asian cultural production.  Engaging in global culture in a variety of ways, such cultural production includes novels such as Frank Chin’s Gunga Din Highway (1999), Ishmael Reed’s Japanese By Spring (1992), and Paul Beatty’s White Boy Shuffle (1996); films such asRush Hour 2 (2001), Unleashed (2005), The Matrix trilogy (1999-2003) and the Japanese anime series, Samurai Champloo (2004). (University of Mississippi Press, 2013)

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Anderson, Crystal S. “When Were We Colored?: Blacks, Asians and Racial Discourse.” Blacks and Asians: Crossings, Conflict and Commonality. Ed. Hazel McFerson. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2006. 59-77.  

Anderson, Crystal S. “Panthers and Dragons on the Page: The Afro-Asian Dynamic in The Black Aesthetic.”  The Black Urban Community:  From Dusk ‘Till Dawn. Ed. Gayle T. Tate and Lewis A. Randolph. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2006. 427-437.

Anderson, Crystal S.  Review of Transpacific Racism: Afro-Asian Solidarity in 20th-Century Black America, Japan, and Okinawa, by Yuichiro Onishi. Journal of American Studies 48.4 (2014): doi:


A Tale of Three Cities:  The Urban and Afro-Asian American Encounters in The Matrix Trilogy.” Paper presented at the Association of Asian American Studies, New York, NY, 2007. 

“ ‘Because Some Things Never Change and Some Things Do’:  Afro-Asian Solidarity and Discord in The Matrix Trilogy.” Paper presented as part of the American Seminar—Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas, November, 2006.

“‘Worlds of Color’:  Literary Representations of Black-Asian Cooperation.”  Paper presented at the American Studies Association Conference, Atlanta, GA, 2004.

“Asians and Asian Americans in the Contemporary Black Imagination.” Paper presented at the Blacks and Asians: Encounters Through Time and Space International Conference, Boston University, 2002.

“Racial Discourse as Environmental Policy: The Rhetorical Response to Black Emigration and Japanese Nationalism.” Paper presented at the East of California Asian American Studies Conference, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2002.

“Towers of Ivory, Ebony and Jade: Asian American Studies and the Legacy of the Black Intellectual Experience in the South.” Paper presented at the East of California Asian American Studies Conference, Oberlin College, 2001.

African American Studies


Anderson, Crystal S. “These—Are—the ‘Breaks’: A Roundtable Discussion on Teaching the Post-Soul Aesthetic.” African American Review 41.4 (2007): 787-804.

Anderson, Crystal S. “ ‘The Girl Isn’t White’:  New Racial Dimensions in Octavia Butler’s Survivor.”  Extrapolation 47.1 (2006): 35-50.

Anderson, Crystal S. “Racial Discourse and Black-Japanese Dynamics in Ishmael Reed’s Japanese by Spring.” MELUS 29. 3/4 (2004): 379-396.

Anderson, Crystal S. Review of Caribbean Autobiography: Cultural Identity and Self-Representation, by Sandra Pouchet Paquet; Scarring the Black Body: Race and Representation in African American Literature by Carol E. Henderson; and Voices of the Fugitives: Runaway Slave Stories and Their Fictions of Self-Creation, by Sterling Lecater Bland. American Literature76. 3 (2004): 608-610.


“Shaolin. . . With Rhythm: Asian Appropriations in Paul Beatty’s White Boy Shuffle.” Paper presented at Post-Soul Satire: A Symposium on the Fiction of Paul Beatty, Trey Ellis and Darius James, College of the Holy Cross, 2001.

“ ‘Old Laces, Strange Embroideries, Dim Brocades”: Orientalisms in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand.”  Paper presented at the MELUS Annual Conference, Boca Raton, FL, 2011.

“Orientalism and the Harlem Renaissance.”  Paper presented at the American Studies Association Conference, Oakland, CA, 2006.

“The Afterlife Is Just a Lay Up Away”: The Resolution of Despair in Paul Beatty’s The White Boy Shuffle.  Paper presented at the American Literature Association Conference, Boston, MA, 2005.

“Imagined Coalitions:  Pan-Ethnic Movements in the Fiction of W.E.B. Du Bois and George Schuyler.”  Paper presented at the Race, Nation and Ethnicity in the Afro-Asian Century Conference, Boston University, 2004.

“The Wildest Seed Yet: New Racial Dimensions in Octavia Butler’s Survivor.” Paper presented at the College Language Association, Washington, DC, 2003.

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