New Publications and Contemplating Leaving Academia

Two new articles I’ve written have been published! One of them actually came out a while ago (at the end of last year), but because the journal’s website hadn’t updated the information on their ‘latest issue’ page, I just assumed that the issue hadn’t come out yet. The other one just came out this month! Below are abstracts and links to sites where you can download them.


Remember that blog entry I posted a while ago about “Orangutans and/or Babies”? It was based on this article:

Tsao, Tiffany. “Humanity in the Orangutan Adoption Accounts of Alfred Russel Wallace and William Temple Hornaday.” Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History 43.1 (2013): 1-31.

In 1855 and 1878, respectively, the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace and the American naturalist William Temple Hornaday adopted orangutan infants during their collecting expeditions in British Borneo. In the accounts that they produced about their respective experiences, they compared their infants, as well as the mothers and other orangutans whom they shot and skinned, to a wide variety of human beings. This article shows how these different comparisons reveal much about the decline of the “human” as a meaningful concept among European and North American scientists for assessing an individual being’s inherent worth, and the increasing use of other attributes to assess the relative superiority and inferiority of different members of the human race.

Download this article here.


The second article was actually accepted by Comparative Literature more than a year ago. This month, it emerges in all its splendor like a terribly long-metamorphosing butterfly.

Tsao, Tiffany. “Postcolonial Life and Death: A Process-Based Comparison of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Ayu Utami’s Saman.” Comparative Literature 66.1 (2014): 95-112.

This comparative study of Wuthering Heights (a mid-nineteenth-century British novel by Emily Brontë) and Saman (a late-twentieth-century Indonesian novel by Ayu Utami) examines the two novels’ respective treatments of internal colonization — a shared thematic concern that only becomes apparent with critical attention to the similarities between scenes found in each work. Read together, the two texts expose the limitations that a unilinear model of the colonization process may impose on life for the colonized subject. Whereas Wuthering Heights figures pre-colonial and colonial modes of life as existing on a single chronological continuum, casting the former as an irretrievable thing of the past, Saman conceives of the two co-existing parallel to each other, the former continuing to exist despite the introduction of colonial culture. By proposing and deploying a process-based model of literary comparison that alternately analyzes the similarities and differences between texts rather than attempting to maintain a balanced view of both at once, this essay also hopes to contribute to recent discussions within the field of comparative literature on how to treat textual convergences and divergences.

Download this article here.


These articles are good news, and may be taken as evidence that all is going well career-wise for old Tiff. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case. I actually received a piece of news a few weeks ago that is making me reconsider, rather seriously, whether I want to continue pursuing a career as an academic. I’d rather not talk about it now. It’s still a little too raw, and I don’t think I trust myself to blog about it yet. I definitely will at some point. But not right now. If you are a regular reader of this blog, I know that you are, if nothing else, a patient person. And for this, I thank you.

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