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, and urban and suburban studies. 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, forthcoming November 2013) develops a theory of regional racial formation through the experiences and perspectives of residents of majority nonwhite, multiracial suburbs. Her coauthored book, A People's Guide to Los Angeles(University of California Press), 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 AAG Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography and the 2012 SCIBA 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. 

Selected Publications

"Radicalising Teaching and Tourism: A People’s Guide as Active and Activist History," Left History (2011).

 "New Topographics: Locating Epistemological Concerns in the American Landscape," American Quarterly (2011).

 "‘Diversity’ on Main Street? Branding Race and Place in the New ‘Majority-Minority’ Suburbs," Identities: Global Studies in Power and Culture (2010).

 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. DOI:10.1080/14725843.2013.797284


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

M.A. (Geography), UC Berkeley

A.B. (English), Harvard University

Recent Courses

SST 220 Introduction to Social Transformation

JUS/APA/AFS/TCL 394 Race, Space, and the Production of Inequality

JUS 303 Justice Theory