Karen Kuo is an associate professor in the School of Social Transformation. Her current work focuses on the geopolitical and cultural representations of Asia and Asians in films and novels of early twentieth century America. Her work examines how U.S. narratives about Asia and Asian migration culturally defined US understandings of the foreign and the domestic. She was also the lead principal investigator for the International Nikkei Legacy Project (INRP) sponsored in part by the Japanese American National Museum. The INRP creates and maintains a database of international Nikkei sources in Arizona and interfaces with the global Japanese diaspora project of the museum.
Kuo's teaching and research interests include Asian American film and literature, film studies, 20th-century American literature, film theory, immigrant literature, postcolonial theory and cultural studies. Kuo has taught a variety of courses that include modern twentieth-century literature, and Asian American literature, film and media, and history. She delivers speeches and talks on the role of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in US history and culture to private and public organizations and groups within Arizona. In addition she is co-editing "Japanese Americans in Arizona." Her future work will explore the formation of Taiwanese American communities and identity during the Cold War.