Rey Chow

Rey Chow

Anne Firor Scott Professor of Literature i

External address: 
101 Friedl Building, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708-0670
(919) 660-3045

Chow's research comprises theoretical, interdisciplinary, and textual analyses. Since her years as a graduate student at Stanford University, she has specialized in the making of cultural forms such as literature and film (with particular attention to East Asia, Western Europe, and North America), and in the discursive encounters among modernity, sexuality, postcoloniality, and ethnicity. Her book PRIMITIVE PASSIONS was awarded the James Russell Lowell Prize by the Modern Language Association. Before coming to Duke, she was Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Brown University, where she held appointments in the Departments of Comparative Literature, English, and Modern Culture and Media. In her current work, Chow is concerned with the legacies of poststructuralist theory (in particular the work of Michel Foucault), the politics of language as a postcolonial phenomenon, and the shifting paradigms for knowledge and lived experience in the age of visual technologies and digitial media.

Please contact Professor Chow for most recent CV at


  • Ph.D., Stanford University 1986
  • M.A., Stanford University 1982
  • B.A., University of Hong Kong (China) 1979

Chow, R. Ethics after Idealism: Theory – Culture – Ethnicity – Reading. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1998. (Monograph)

Chow, R. Xie zai jia guo yi wai. Ed. L Dung. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1995. (Collection)

Chow, R. Primitive Passions: Visuality, Sexuality, Ethnography, and Contemporary Chinese Cinema. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995. (Monograph)

Chow, R. Writing Diaspora: Tactics of Intervention in Contemporary Cultural Studies. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1993. (Monograph)

Chow, R. Woman and Chinese Modernity: The Politics of Reading Between West and East. Minnesota, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1991. (Monograph)


Chow, R. "The Age of the World Target: Self-Referentiality in War, Theory, and Comparative Work, chapter 3." Literatura europea comparada. Ed. Dominguez, C.: Arcos Libros, S.L.. 2013. 147-75.

Chow, R. "After the Passage of the Beast: ’False Documentary’ Aspirations, Acousmatic Complications." Ton. Texte zur Akustik im Documentarfilm. Ed. Kamensky, V and Rohrhuber, J.: Verlag Vorwerk 8. 2013. 194-211.

Chow, R. "Things, Commonplaces, Passages of a Port City: On Hong Kong and Hong Kong Author Leung Ping-kwan. Reprint." Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader. Ed. Shih, S, Tsai, C and Bernards, B.: Columbia UP. 2013. 207-226.

Chow, R. "Fetish Power Unbound: A Small History of 'Woman' in Chinese Cinema." The Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas. Ed. C Rojas and E Chow. Oxford UP, 2013. 490-506.

Chow, R. ""I insist on the christian dimension": On forgiveness ... and the outside of the human." Language, Ideology, and the Human: New Interventions. December 1, 2012. 215-236.

Chow, R. "“I insist on the Christian dimension”: On forgiveness … and the outside of the human." Language, Ideology, and the Human: New Interventions. January 1, 2012. 234-255.

Chow, R. "The Dream of a Butterfly." Asian American Literature, Vol IV. Ed. Li, DL.: Routledge. 2012. 92-117.

"A Discipline of Tolerance." A Companion to Comparative Literature. November 25, 2011. 15-27. Full Text

Chow, R. "Afterword: Liquidity of Being." The Chinese Cinema Book. Ed. SH Lim and J Ward. British Film Institute/Palgrave MacMillan, 2011. 194-99.

Chow, R. "When Reflexivity Becomes Porn: Mutations of a Modernist Theoretical Practice." Theory after Theory. Ed. J Elliott and D Attridge. Routledge, 2011. 135-48.


Chow, R. "What Does It Mean to Enjoy Life? Yang Fudong’s 'An Estranged Paradise'." Ed. Pirotte, P and Ruf, B. (2013): 129-30; 148-49 (German translation)-129-30; 148-49 (German translation).

Chow, R, and Rangan, P. "Race, Racism, and Postcoloniality." Ed. Huggan, G. (2013): 396-411. (Academic Article)

Chow, R. "Ye Si yu shuqing." Ed. DD-WWE al. (2013). (Academic Article)

Chow, R, and Steintrager, JA. "Mediation/Medium." Ed. Mininger, JD and Peck, JM. (2013). (Academic Article)

Chow, R. "Postcolonial Visibilities." Zeitschrift Fur Medienwissenschaft 2 (2013): 132-45.

Chow, R. "The Dream of a Butterfly." Ed. Li, DL. (2012): 92-117. (Academic Article)

Chow, R. "Sacrifice, Mimesis, and the Theorizing of Victimhood." Problemi 9 (2012): 161-190.

Chow, R. "Framing the Original: toward a New Visibility of the Orient." PMLA (May 2011): 555-63. (Academic Article)

Chow, R. "On the Graphic in Postmodern Theoretical Writing." Twentieth Century Literature 57.3-4 (2011): 372-379.

Chow, R, and Steintrager, JA. "In Pursuit of the Object of Sound: An Introduction." Differences 22.2-3 (2011): 1-9. Full Text