I am a comparative political theorist completing my Ph.D in the department of political science at the University of California, Riverside. My research explores theories of colonialism, otherness/identity, freedom, and democracy through cross-cultural analysis that challenges and enhances the way we understand the canon of political theory. My work appears in The Review of Politics, Polity, The European Legacy, Montaigne Studies, and Contemporary Political Theory. Two of these articles are the first to introduce Vietnamese political thought to debates in political theory.
Many Americans think of "Vietnam" as a war, but Vietnam has been a cross-roads of empires and thus a site of rich cross-cultural intellectual exchange. My book project explores how five Vietnamese thinkers of the early twentieth century drew on Chinese notions of justice and political obligation in order to debate the utility of European Enlightenment ideas for self-determination from French colonial rule (1858-1945). I show the diverse ways they exert creative agency and do not fit easily into typecasts of "resistors" or "collaborators." Political theorists gain surprising lessons from these Vietnamese intellectuals who interpreted and adapted Rousseau, Tagore, Montesquieu, Nietzsche, Montaigne, and Marx for their own nation-building projects.