Jih-Fei Cheng

Assistant Professor, Department of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Department: Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Office Address: Vita Nova 116 (enter through Vita Nova 115 foyer)
Office Phone: (909) 607-4085
Office Hours: Fall 2016: Tuesdays, 12:30pm-2:30pm & Thursdays, 4:45pm-6:45pm (Note: E-mail in advance to request and ensure appointment)
Personal Website:
Jih-Fei Cheng

Academic History

  • Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity, with emphasis in Visual Studies, University of Southern California
  • M.A. in Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
  • B.A. in Communication with minors in Chinese Studies and General/World Literatures, University of California, San Diego

Areas of Expertise

Jih-Fei Cheng's research examines the intersections between science, technology, media representations, and social movements. He utilizes interdisciplinary feminist and queer of color approaches, including visual, textual, and historical methods, to study activist uses of media to document, mobilize action, and leverage the survival chances of communities made vulnerable to illness through systemized health and economic disparities.

Cheng's first book project, tentatively titled “AIDS and its Afterlives: Race, Gender, and the Queer Radical Imagination,” examines how AIDS activists' experimental videos produced during the U.S. crisis (1980s to early-1990s) continue to intervene into contemporary popular culture and social movements. While the stigma of AIDS associates it with death and abjection, activists faced with the massive loss of women and queers of color invented new political imaginations and representations for life. This research builds on AIDS media studies and feminist and queer of color critiques by arguing that the queer of color images forged by feminist video activists in the crucible of the crisis continue to circulate and install a “queer radical imagination.” Analyzing contemporary and early crisis period activist documentaries, New Queer Cinema films, Internet-based HIV prevention campaigns, and social networking applications, Cheng theorizes how queer of color AIDS images attain “afterlives” through their continued appropriations in popular media.

Selected Research and Publications

Journal Articles

  • Cheng, J. (2016) AIDS and Its Afterlives in Popular Media. Women's Studies Quarterly. Volume 44, No. 1 & 2, pp. 73-92.
  • Cheng, J. (2015) El tabaco se ha mulato: Globalizing Race, Viruses, and Scientific Observation in the Late Nineteenth Century. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. Vol. 1 (1),
  • Cheng, J. (2006). HIV, Immigrant Rights, and Same-Sex Marriage. Amerasia Journal. Vol. 30 (1), pp. 99-108.
  • Yoshikawa, H., Wilson, P. A., Chae, D., Cheng, J. (2004). Do Family and Friendship Networks Protect Against the Influence of Discrimination on Mental Health and HIV Risk among Asian and Pacific Islander Gay Men?. AIDS Education and Prevention: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Vol. 16 (1), pp. 84-100.

Book Reviews

  • Cheng, J. (2015). Review of Love and Money: Queers, Class, and Cultural Production, by Lisa Henderson Class. Vol 15 (3). pp. 541-3.
  • Cheng, J. (2007). Review of Queer Migrations: Sexuality, U.S. Citizenship, and Border Crossings, eds. Eithne Luibhéid and Lionel Cantú Jr. Amerasia Journal. pp. 154-6.
  • Cheng, J. (2005). Review of Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America, eds. Quang Bao and Hanya Yanagihara. Amerasia Journal. pp. 118-120.

Digital Commons

Awards and Honors

  • Research Fellow, Summer Institute for the Center for Historic American Visual Culture at the American Antiquarian Society, 2014
  • Visual Studies Summer Research Award, USC Visual Studies Graduate Institute, 2014
  • New Directions Fellow, USC Center for Feminist Research, 2011-2012
  • Tritia Toyota Fellowship, 2001-2002


Jih-Fei Cheng previously worked in HIV/AIDS social services, managed a university cultural center, has been involved in arts and media production and curation, and has participated as a board or steering committee member for various queer of color grassroots and community-based organizations in Los Angeles and New York City, such as the Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment! (FIERCE!). His organizing work has addressed queer and transgender health, immigration, gentrification and youth homelessness, police harassment and brutality, and prison abolition. From 2010-2013, Jih-Fei served as the managing editor for American Quarterly, the official publication for the American Studies Association. He has taught courses at the University of California, Los Angeles and Hunter College.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Feminist and Queer Research Methods
  • Feminist and Queer Conceptions of Science
  • Queer Representations in Film and Video
  • Geographies of Militarization (co-taught with Professor Piya Chatterjee)
  • Feminist and Queer Pedagogies

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