PeopleGraduate Students

Cai, Kathryn

Literature and Biomedicine; Critical Medical/Health Humanities; Asian American Literature; Literature and Environment

Kaplan 149
Tel: 310.825.4173 / Fax: 310.267.4339 / E-mail


  • C.Phil, 2016, UCLA
  • MA, 2015, UCLA
  • B.A./B.S., 2011, University of Maryland, College Park


My research explores connections between individual narratives of illness and health and broader sociopolitical and environmental conditions. My dissertation draws on considerations of affect and embodiment to analyze Asian American and Chinese literary and ethnographic narratives and consider how constructions of illness and health suggest broadened conceptions of agency under uncertain conditions.


Cai, Kathryn. 2016. “Bodily significations in an agricultural world: the meanings of materiality in Lorine Niedecker’s New Goose poems,” Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association 49.1 (Spring): 119-38.

“Bodily capacity beyond pathology: towards an embodied intersubjectivity in Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being,” Literature and Medicine (forthcoming Spring 2018).


(Working title) Affective imaginations of adaptation: Asian American and Chinese narratives of embodied modes for navigating contingency

Interest Areas
• Asian American Literature & Culture
• Ecocriticism / Environmental Humanities / Biopolitics