Imagine Otherwise: Christopher B. Patterson on Writing as Resistance and Refusal

Jan 23, 2020 | Podcast

Episode 103 of Imagine Otherwise was just released!

I interview speculative fiction author, podcaster, and scholar Christopher B. Patterson about why Chris prefers writing novels and scholarly books in pairs and how they inform one another, how we can approach all of our work as passion projects and why we might want to do so, the power of names and publishing under different names to reach different audiences, and why advocating a politics of refusal is how Chris imagines otherwise.

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You can also read the transcript and show notes on the Ideas on Fire website, which have links to Chris’s work and all the concepts, people, and events we discuss on the show (great for teaching!).

Guest: Christopher B. Patterson

Christopher B. Patterson is an assistant professor in the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia.

He is the author of two academic books: Transitive Cultures: Anglophone Literature of the Transpacific (Rutgers University Press, 2018) and Open World Empire: Race, Erotics, and the Global Rise of Video Games (NYU Press, forthcoming 2020). 

Chris also writes fiction under his alter ego, Kawika Guillermo. His debut novel, Stamped: An Anti-Travel Novel (Westphalia Press, 2018), depicts American minority, Black, and queer exiles who travel in Asia and face their new roles as privileged American expatriates. His forthcoming queer speculative novel, All Flowers Bloom (Westphalia Press, 2020), follows a reincarnating soul who takes on multiple lives and lovers from 500 BCE to the death of humankind.

As an organizer and public scholar, Chris founded the podcast New Books in Asian American Studies, which he co-hosts. He blogs on race and new media for Anomaly Magazine and serves as the Prose Editor for decomP Magazine. His commitment to teaching was recognized in 2018 when he was awarded Hong Kong Baptist University’s Arts Faculty Early Career Teaching Award.

Chris’s writing stems from his experience growing up in a family of Filipinos, Irish/Scottish people, and mixed Chinese and Native Hawaiians. He has frequently been an American abroad, living in South Korea, mainland China, and Hong Kong for extended periods of time.

He earned his PhD from the University of Washington.

Key quote

I feel really free in my writing because it always resists professionalization. I feel like the promise of promotion, which is a kind of promise of academic freedom, often promotes a very disengaged kind of writing that only takes up political aims when it’s in service to the university, which is to say to neoliberalism and imperial violence. So I think there is a lot at stake when we choose to write outside of the disciplines that are assigned to us.

– Christopher B. Patterson on episode 103 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast

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