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Donald Goellnicht, Ph.D.

Professor of English and Cultural Studies

Director of the MA in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory

Phone: 905-525-9140 x.23721/23681
Office: Chester New Hall 225

Areas of Interest

Asian North American literature and culture; African American literature; critical race and ethnic studies; diaspora studies; queer studies.


Donald Goellnicht started his academic career as a Romanticist, working primarily on John Keats. In this area, he has published The Poet Physician: Keats and Medical Science (1984) and several essays and journal articles on Keats, and has co-edited (with David L. Clark) New Romanticisms: Theory and Critical Practices (1994). For the last twenty years or more, his research interests have shifted to Asian North American and African American literature and culture with a particular focus on the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. He has published essays and articles on the work of such writers as Joy Kogawa, Maxine Hong Kingston, Hisaye Yamamoto, Sky Lee, Fae Myenne Ng, Larissa Lai, Roy Kiyooka, Fred Wah, Winston Kam, Nam Le, and James Weldon Johnson; on African American and Asian American criticism and theory; and on the institutions of Asian American and Asian Canadian literary and cultural studies. He has co-edited with Daniel Coleman a special issue of Essays on Canadian Writing on the topic of “Race” in Canadian culture (2002); with Eleanor Ty, a collection of essays, Asian North American Identities: Beyond the Hyphen (2004); and with Stephen Sohn and Paul Lai, a special issue of Modern Fiction Studies on “Theorizing Asian American Fiction” (2010). His broad interests include critical race studies, diaspora/transnational studies, and queer studies. His current research is on Asian North American refugee narratives.

Dr. Goellnicht has supervised extensively at the graduate level and most of his PhD students have gone on to tenure-track jobs at universities in Canada, the U.S., and Asia. He received the President’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision in 2001 and 2013. Doctoral theses he has supervised recently include: “The Figure of the (Tragic) Mulatto in (South) African Fiction,” “Intimate Reconciliations: Diasporic Genealogies of War and Genocide in Southeast Asia,” “Teacher, Detective, Witness, Activist: On Pedagogy and Social Justice in Asian Canadian Literature,” “Our Hearts and Minds: (Post) Refugee Affect and the War in Vietnam,” and “Reaching Gold Mountain: Diasporic Labour Narratives in Chinese Canadian Literature and Film.” He served as Chair of the Department of English and Cultural Studies from 1995 to 2004, as Associate Dean in the School of Graduate Studies from 2007 to 2013, and as Director of the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition from 2013 to 2016. He held a National Science Council Visiting Research Fellowship at Academia Sinica in Taiwan in 2011.



Asian North American Identities



Asian North American Identities: Beyond the Hyphen. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004. Co-edited Eleanor Ty and Donald C. Goellnicht




New Romanticisms



New Romanticisms: Theory and Critical Practices. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994. Co-edited David L. Clark and Donald C. Goellnicht




the poet physician


The Poet-Physician: Keats and Medical Science. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1984.






Journal Issues:

Theorizing Asian American Fiction. Special Issue of MFS Modern Fiction Studies. 56.1 (2010). Eds. Stephen Hong Sohn, Paul Lai, and Donald C. Goellnicht

“Race” into the twenty-first century. Special Issue of Essays on Canadian Writing. 75 (2002). Eds. Daniel Coleman and Donald C. Goellnicht

Contributions to Books:

“Keats’s Chemical Composition.”  In Critical Essays on John Keats.  Ed. Hermione de Almeida.  Boston: G.K. Hall, 1990.  143-157.

“Father Land and/or Mother Tongue: The Divided Female Subject in Kogawa’s Obasan and Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior.”  In Redefining Autobiography in Twentieth-Century Women’s Fiction.  Ed. Janice Morgan and Colette Hall.  New York: Garland, 1991.  119-134.

“Re(:)Reading Keats.”  In Approaches to Teaching the Poetry of Keats.  Ed. Walter H. Evert and Jack W. Rhodes.  New York: MLA, 1991. 99-105.

“Tang Ao in America: Male Subject Positions in China Men.”  In Reading the Literatures of Asian America.  Ed. Shirley Geok-lin Lim and Amy Ling.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992.  191-212. Reprinted in Critical Essays on Maxine Hong Kingston. Ed. Laura E. Skandera-Trombley.  New York: G.K. Hall, 1998.

“Transplanted Discourse in Hisaye Yamamoto’s ‘Seventeen Syllables.'”  In “Seventeen Syllables.”  Ed. King-Kok Cheung.  New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1994.  181-93.

“The Politics of Reading and Writing: Periodical Reviews of Keats’s Poems (1817).”  In New Romanticisms: Theory and Critical Practice.  Ed. David L. Clark and Donald C. Goellnicht.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.  101-31.

“Blurring Boundaries: Asian American Literature as Theory.”  In An Interethnic Companion to Asian American Literature.  Ed. King-Kok Cheung.  Cambridge and New York: Cambridge UP, 1997.  338-365.

“Passing as Autobiography: James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man.”  In Critical Essays on James Weldon Johnson.  Ed. Kenneth M. Price and Lawrence J. Oliver.  New York: G.K. Hall and London: Prentice Hall, 1997.  115-135.  (Reprint of an article that appeared first in African American Review.)

“’Forays into acts of transformation’: Queering Chinese Canadian Diasporic Fictions.”  In Culture, Identity, Commodity: Diasporic Chinese Literatures in English.  Ed. Kam Louie and Tseen Khoo.  Hong Kong: U of Hong Kong P, and Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2005.  153-182.

“Kai-dai: Staging Queer Subjectivity in Winston Christopher Kam’s Bachelor Man.” Asian Canadian Theatre. Ed. Nina Lee Aquino and Ric Knowles. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2011. 223-235.

Donald Goellnicht and Eleanor Ty, “Asian Canadian.” The Routledge Companion to Asian American and Pacific Islander Literature. Ed. Rachel Lee. London and New York: Routledge, 2014. 224-244.

“Inventing Identity: The Manifestos of Pioneering Asian American Literature Anthologies.” Cambridge History of Asian American Literature. Ed Rajini Srikanth and Min Hyoung Song. New York: Cambridge UP, 2015. 254-70.

Refereed Journal Articles:

“Keats as a Student at Guy’s Hospital.” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 3 (Summer 1986): 65-85.

“`In Some Untrodden Region of My Mind’: Double Discourse in Keats’s ‘Ode to Psyche.'” Mosaic: Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 21 (Spring 1988): 91-103.

“Keats on Reading: ‘Delicious Diligent Indolence.'” JEGP (Journal of English and Germanic Philology) 88 (Spring 1989): 190-210.

“Minority History as Metafiction: Joy Kogawa’s Obasan.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 8 (Fall 1989): 287-306.

“From Novitiate Culture to Market Economy: The Professionalization of Graduate Students.” English Studies in Canada 19 (December 1993): 471-484.

“Passing as Autobiography: James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.” African American Review 30 (Spring 1996): 17-33.

“Of Bones and Suicide: SKY Lee’s Disappearing Moon Cafe and Fae Myenne Ng’s Bone.”  Modern Fiction Studies 46.2 (Summer 2000): 300-330.

“A Long Labour: The Protracted Birth of Asian Canadian Literature.”  Essays on Canadian Writing 72 (Winter 2000): 1-41.

Daniel Coleman and Donald Goellnicht, “’Race’ into the Twenty-First Century.”  Essays on Canadian Writing 75 (Winter 2002): 1-29.

“Asian Kanadian, Eh?”  Canadian Literature 199 (Winter 2008): 71-99; special issue on Asian Canadian literature.

“Joy Kogawa’s Obasan: An Essential Asian American Text?”  The American Book Review, 31.1 (Nov/Dec 2009), 5-6 (1800 words); special issue on “Essential Asian American Literature.”

Stephen Sohn, Paul Lai, and Donald Goellnicht. “Introduction: Theorizing Asian American Fiction.”  Modern Fiction Studies 56.1 (Spring 2010): 1-18.

“’Ethnic literature’s hot’: Asian American Literature, Refugee Cosmopolitanism, and Nam Le’s The Boat.”  Journal of Asian American Studies 15.2 (June 2012): 197-224.

“Outside the U.S. Frame: Asian Canadian Perspectives.”  Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies 39.2 (September 2013): 83-100.

“Paul Wong and Refugee Citizenship.” Canadian Literature 227 (Winter 2016): 38-55. Special issue on “Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation,” guest edited by Christopher Lee and Christine Kim.