Karen Tongson
Published August 22, 2017
Updated April 17, 2021

Karen Tongson is a professor of English, gender and sexuality studies, and American studies and ethnicity, and chair of the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Southern California. She is an expert in queer theory, women and pop music, and queer and racial representations and stereotyping in popular culture.

She is the 2019 recipient of the Lambda Literary Jeanne Córdova Award for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction, and the author of two books: Why Karen Carpenter Matters (2019) and Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries (2011). She has two books in progress: Empty Orchestra: Karaoke, Queer Performance, Queer Theory and NORMPORN: Television and the Spectacle of Normalcy.

She co-edits the series Postmillennial Pop at NYU Press and co-hosts the podcast Waiting to X-Hale. Tongson is director of the Consortium for Gender, Sexuality, Race and Popular Culture, a start-up podcast network housed in the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Her writing and cultural commentary have appeared in NPR, Los Angeles Review of Books, L.A. Weekly, BuzzFeed Reader, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and Public Books.

Location: Los Angeles, Calif.

Phone: (323) 687-2574

Email: Tongson@usc.edu

Twitter: @inlandemperor

Hear her on All Things Considered:

Is this source outdated? Email us.