Faculty Profile

Wendy Cheng

Assistant Professor, Justice and Social Inquiry and Asian Pacific American Studies, School of Social Transformation

Email: Wendy.Cheng@asu.edu | Office Phone: 480-965-7682 | Office: Wilson 347


Wendy Cheng's research focuses on race and ethnicity, comparative racialization, critical geography, urban and suburban studies, and diaspora. She is also a photographer of urban and vernacular landscapes. Her book, The Changs Next Door to the Díazes: Remapping Race in Suburban California (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) develops a theory of regional racial formation through the experiences and perspectives of residents of majority nonwhite, multiracial suburbs. It won the 2014 Book Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Asia and Asian America. Her coauthored book, A People's Guide to Los Angeles (University of California Press, 2012), for which she was also the photographer, is a guide to sites of alternative histories and struggles over power in Los Angeles County. It won the Association of American Geographers Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography and the 2012 Southern California Independent Booksellers Award for Nonfiction. Her articles, reviews, and essays have appeared in a variety of publications, including American Quarterly, Journal of Urban History, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her current project looks at the racial formation and political activism of Taiwanese graduate students in the United States from the 1960s through the 1980s. Dr. Cheng is a founding member of the ASU Ethnic Studies Working Group and the Arizona Ethnic Studies Network. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on race and space, critical geography, comparative ethnic studies, community research, and social justice.

To see and read some of Dr. Cheng’s work, visit http://wendycheng.com.


Race and ethnicity, comparative ethnic studies, Asian American studies, geography, urban and suburban studies, diaspora

Selected Publications

Cheng, Wendy. The Changs Next Door to the Díazes: Remapping Race in Suburban California. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.

Pulido, Laura; Laura Barraclough; and Wendy Cheng. A People’s Guide to Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

Cheng, Wendy. “The Changs Next Door to the Diazes: Suburban Racial Formation in Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley.” 2013. Journal of Urban History 39:1, 15-35.

Cheng, Wendy. “Strategic Orientalism: Racial Capitalism and the Problem of ‘Asianness.’” 2013. African Identities 11:2, 148-58. DOI:10.1080/14725843.2013.797284

Cheng, Wendy. “New Topographics: Locating Epistemological Concerns in the American Landscape.” 2011. American Quarterly 63:1, 151-62.

Cheng, Wendy; Laura Barraclough; and Laura Pulido. “Radicalising Teaching and Tourism: A People’s Guide as Active and Activist History.” 2010-2011 (Fall/Winter). Left History 15:1, 109-125.

Cheng, Wendy. “‘Diversity’ on Main Street? Branding Race and Place in the New ‘Majority-Minority’ Suburbs.” 2010. Identities: Global Studies in Power and Culture 17:5, 458-496.



Ph.D. (American Studies and Ethnicity), University of Southern California

M.A. (Geography), UC Berkeley

A.B. (English), Harvard University

Recent Courses

APA 210 Introduction to Ethnic Studies

APA 450 Contemporary Asian Pacific American Issues

APA 352/JUS 353 Race, Space, and the Production of Inequality

JUS 320 Community and Social Justice

JUS 633 Community Research

SST 501 Foundations of Social Transformation