Born and raised in a coastal village near the Pacific Ocean, Ding-Liang Chen is a first-generation Taiwanese researcher in the Combined PhD Program in American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. He earned a dual BA degree in Economics and English at National Chengchi University and an MA degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Taiwan University. Centering on what he calls “perverse Pacifics,” his MA thesis presents a queer genealogy of the rise of the American empire with a transpacific articulation of indigenous sexual cultures in Hawai‘i and the Philippines. His doctoral research aims to reconstruct transpacific histories of informatics, cybernetics, and digital infrastructures since the nineteenth century to the present era of cyberwarfare. In examining the expansive material and logistical networks in Southeast Asia and Pacific Islander societies, he endeavors to engage with growing scholarships on the history of science and technology, settler colonial critique, and environmental humanities, gesture toward an infrastructural critique of European, American, and East Asian empires, and call into question the uneven knowledge production in the Anglophone academia.
Prior to joining Yale in 2022, he served as an editor of world literature and non-fiction at the Rye Field Publishing Company and the Director of Research and Planning at the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF). In TAEF, he worked with artists, curators, and researchers to initiate a diverse array of public humanities projects that facilitated cultural collaboration among Taiwan, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Austronesian communities. With strong interests in interdisciplinary research and long-term devotion to public engagement, he hopes to continue exploring the myriad possibilities of alternative global histories that are empirically anchored, theoretically reflexive, and ontologically transformative.