A fourth-generation Japanese American, Vince Schleitwiler was raised in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood, and currently makes his home in Seattle’s Beacon Hill. His first book, Strange Fruit of the Black Pacific: Imperialism's Racial Justice and Its Fugitives (NYU Press, 2017), explores the intersecting migrations of Japanese Americans, Filipinos, and African Americans across US imperial domains, from the 1890s to the 1940s. His scholarship has been published in African American Review, Amerasia Journal, and Comparative Literature, among others. His current research projects include a second monograph, “From Afro-Asia to Outer Space: Racial Difference Beyond White Supremacy”; coediting of a recovered photo-text manuscript on post-World War II Japanese American Chicago; and a book chapter on black transpacific culture, circa 1900-1910, for Cambridge University Press’s African American Literature in Transition series.
As a public scholar, Schleitwiler has collaborated with artist Rea Tajiri on “Wataridori: Birds of Passage,” a May 2018 multisite public installation on Japanese American resettlement in Philadelphia, and composed a serial essay for the installation brochure, which is continued on the project’s ongoing web presence. He was a contributing writer and researcher for “Japanese American Heritage on Vashon Island,” a web-based public history resource for the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and was the 2015 Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Art and Thought, for which he composed a set of serial essays, City of Refuge.
He is a frequent contributor to Seattle’s International Examiner, and his article on an exhibition at the Wing Luke Museum was honored in the 2017 Northwest Excellence in Journalism awards. His writing has also appeared in the Village Voice, FILMMAKER, and elsewhere, and he began his career in journalism in high school, as a weekly movie-review columnist for the Chicago Tribune. He also worked as an arts consultant and as a development executive in independent film prior to receiving his MA and PhD in English at the UW.
In addition to teaching courses in Japanese American studies and comparative ethnic studies at UW, he has taught in Africana studies and English at Williams College and in American studies and ethnic studies at the University of Southern California.