Photo of Charmaine Chua
  • Assistant Professor of Politics
  • Rice Hall 208
  • 440-775-8061
  • Wednesday, 9-10 a.m.
    Thursday, 11 a.m.–Noon


  • BA (honors), Vassar College, 2008
  • PhD, University of Minnesota, 2018


Charmaine Chua is Assistant Professor of Politics. Her research and teaching interests are in critical international relations, international security, global political economy, postcolonial theory, supply chains, the technology and logistics of warfare and capitalism, and contemporary left movements.

Professor Chua’s current research focuses on the politics of global circulation: how things move, who moves them, and why systems that are supposed to provision life actually distribute inequality and death. Her book project, “Containing the Ship of State: Managing Mobility in an Age of Logistics” is a political ethnography of global shipping lanes between the US and China. Based on ethnographic work at four ports in China and on the US West Coast, and on board a 119,000 ton container ship, the book is concerned with the rise of the global logistics industry, and the economies of racialized violence that it has both intensified and reconfigured. The global supply chain has exploded in scale and speed since the 1960s, subjecting the circulation of things — from teddy bears to computer parts and weapons technologies — to the logics of just-in-time management . As imperatives to accelerate the turnover of capital have intensified efforts to control and coordinate the circulation of commodities across the world, logistics has become both a form of calculative reason and a social-material order that organizes the displacement and exploitation of poor and working people in terms of their relationship to economies of supply. She is also working on a side project on blockades, which explores the a history (and a present) of social movements that disrupt critical infrastructure as a tactic of resistance or protection.

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

Special Issues

  • Chua, C., Danyluk, M., Cowen, D., and Khalili, L. (eds.) Turbulent Circulation: Towards a Critical Logistics Studies. Forthcoming in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.


  • Chua, C.“Review Article. Deborah Cowen (2014), The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.” In Historical Materialism (Forthcoming).
  • Chua, C. and Danyluk, M. “Introduction. Turbulent Circulation: Towards a Critical Logistics Studies,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (Forthcoming).
  • Chua, C. “Coming Home Again.” Journal of Narrative Politics, September 2014, 1 (1), p. 41-43.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

  • Chua, C. “Logistics.” In Skeggs, B., Farris, S., and Toscano, A. (eds.), Handbook of Marxism, London: Sage Publications (Forthcoming).
  • Chua, C. “’Sunny Island Set in the Sea’: Singapore’s Land Reclamation as Colonial Project.” In Cowen, D., Mitchell, A., Paradis, E., and Story, B. (eds.), Infrastructures of Citizenship: Digital Life in the Global City, Montréal: McGill-Queens University Press (Forthcoming).
  • Chua, C. 2017. “Against Localization: Rethinking Compliance and Antagonism in Norm Dynamics." In Epstein, C. (ed.), Norming the World: Postcolonial Critiques of the Concept of ‘Norms’ in International Relations, New York: Routledge
  • Chua, C. “The Container: Stacking, Packing, and Moving the World.” In Lambert, L. (ed.), The Funambulist. Issue 6 (July-August 2016): Object Politics.
  • Chua, C. “The Smell of Wood: Recuperating Loss in a Country of Forgetting.” In Dauphinee, E. and Inayatullah, N. (eds.), Narrative Global Politics: Theory, History and the Personal in International Relations. New York: Routledge. 2016.

Editorial Positions

  • Steering Committee member, Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics
  • Editorial board member, Journal of Narrative Politics
  • Editorial Collective, The Disorder of Things

Fellowships and Awards

  • The Robert T. Holt Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, University of Minnesota (UMN), 2016
  • Efimenco Fellowship, Department of Political Science, UMN, 2015
  • Andrew Dickinson Memorial Fellowship, Department of Political Science, UMN, 2014
  • Nomination, Teaching Excellence award, National University of Singapore, 2012.
  • Ueland and Wolfsberg Fellowships, Department of Political Science, UMN, 2009

Invited Presentations

  • “Logistical Monstrosities: Megaships, Megaports, and Violent Infrastructure on the transPacific Supply Chain.” Invited Lecture, Asian-American Studies Speaker Series. Princeton University. December 2017.
  • “Logistics, Circulation, Chokepoints.” Seminar, Marxist Education Project summer school intensive. New York, NY. July 2016.
  • “Mapping the Cybernetic Supernode.” Panel presentation organized by Empire Logistics, David Brower Center. Berkeley, CA. November 2015.
  • “Really big ships: Infrastructural experiments in challenging the material limits of sovereignty,” at “Turbulent Circulation: Towards a Critical Logistics” workshop. University of Toronto, Canada. October 2015.


  • Charmaine Chua Gives Talk at Princeton Asian-American Speaker Series

    December 18, 2017

    Assistant Professor of Politics Charmaine Chua presented a talk on her current book project Logistics Leviathan: Containment, Mobility, and the Ship of State on December 7, 2017 at Princeton University as part of its Asian-American Speaker Series.