Petrus Liu

Associate Professor of Chinese & Comparative Literature and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

  • Title Associate Professor of Chinese & Comparative Literature and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Office STH 635A
  • Education BA, UC Berkeley
    MA, UC Berkeley
    PhD, UC Berkeley


Spring 2021 Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:00-2:00pm and by appointment. 

Petrus Liu is Associate Professor of Chinese & Comparative Literature and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and the Associate Chair of the Department of World Languages and Literatures. He received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (Chinese, German, and Latin) from UC Berkeley (2005) and taught at Cornell University and Yale-NUS College before joining BU in 2017. His teaching and research interests focus on modern Chinese and comparative literature, transnational queer theory, digital media, and the aesthetic of Cold War cultures. He is also a core faculty member of the newly established MFA in Literary Translation.

Prof. Liu’s first book, Stateless Subjects: Chinese Martial Arts Literature and Postcolonial History (Cornell 2011), is the first comprehensive study of wuxia film and fiction to appear in the English language. His second book, Queer Marxism in Two Chinas (Duke 2015), assembles a queer Marxist archive of literary materials, cultural criticism, and activist strategies to develop a nonliberal alternative to Western models of queer emancipation. This book won the Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize Honorable Mention and was a finalist for the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Studies. Prof. Liu is also the coeditor (with Lisa Rofel) of “Beyond the Strai(gh)ts: Transnationalism and Queer Chinese Politics,” a special issue of the journal positions that received the Modern Language Association’s Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) Award for Best Journal Special Issue of 2010. His articles have appeared in Social Text, Modern Language Quarterly, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, positions: asia critique, Asian Exchange, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, and The China Journal. He is also a member of the editorial collective of Inter-Asia Cultural Studies and a member of the international advisory board of Router: A Journal of Cultural Studies. Prof. Liu’s current book project, The Specter of Materialism: Queer Theory and Marxism in the Age of the Beijing Consensus, investigates the ways queer theory and Marxism have been transformed by their encounter with China’s uneven subsumption within global capitalism to develop new understandings of corporeality, precarity, and geopolitics.

Prof. Liu has been the recipient of a J. Y. Pillay Fellowship in Global Asia, and Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI) Berlin Visiting Fellowship, a Telluride Faculty Scholarship, a Cornell Society for the Humanities Fellowship, a National Humanities Center Fellowship, and two multi-year research grants from the Ford Foundation.


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