Welcome! I am an Assistant Professor of Political Theory at the University of Amsterdam.
My scholarly work explores the history of nineteenth and twentieth century political thought, focusing in particular on non-Western theories of democracy, colonialism, race, war, and freedom. I engage these theories through cross-cultural analysis that complicates and enhances the way we understand the canon of political theory. I have special interests in Vietnam.
My scholarly articles appear in journals such as Philosophy and Global Affairs,European Journal of Political Theory, The Review of Politics, Polity, New Political Science, The European Legacy, and Montaigne Studies. Some of these articles are the first to introduce Vietnamese political thought to the field of political theory. In them, I show how Vietnamese thinkers strategically reinterpreted political ideas from Europe, India, Japan, and China to best respond to French colonialism. I also show how their theories challenge Western conventional wisdom on a range of political concepts such as national identity, freedom, and democracy, and how they offer us (citizens in the West) insights for how we might confront our own contemporary problems concerning conflict, diversity, national identity, and democracy.
I grew up in San Jose, California. After high school, I went to the University of California, Irvine where I studied biology and art before majoring in political science. It was during a short-term study-abroad program to study conflict in the Middle East that I decided to pursue a career as a professor of political theory. After graduating, I lived in Vietnam, teaching English as a means to learn about the country my parents left as refugees. Then, through a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, I did a M.Sc. in conflict resolution at the University of Amsterdam. I went to UC Riverside for my Ph.D. in political science. Through a Graduate Research Mentorship Fellowship, I spent a year in Paris doing archival research for my book project on Vietnamese political thought. From 2020 to 2023, I was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Gettysburg College.