I am an Assistant Professor in the department of political science at Gettysburg College.
My research explores theories of power, violence, otherness/identity, freedom, and democracy through cross-cultural analysis that challenges and enhances the way we understand the canon of political theory. I am particularly interested in how subjugated peoples generate power.
My work appears (or is forthcoming) in the European Journal of Political Theory, New Political Science, The Review of Politics, Polity, The European Legacy, Montaigne Studies, Ethics and International Affairs, and Contemporary Political Theory. Four 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, providing surprising, valuable lessons for anyone interested in enduring questions about politics, diversity, and identity.
My book project, The Architects of Dignity: Vietnamese Political Theories of Decolonization, brings Vietnam to the fore in political theory. It traces an intergenerational debate among six key Vietnamese thinkers of the French colonial period (1858-1954)—Phan Boi Chau (1867-1940), Phan Chu Trinh (1872-1926), Nguyen An Ninh (1900-1943), Pham Quynh (1892-1945), Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969), and Nguyen Manh Tuong (1909-1997)—to show how they challenge Western conventional wisdom on the concept of dignity. Dignity is typically understood as something inherent in individuals, as a justification for rights, and as requiring recognition. However, these theorists saw dignity as a property of nations, as rooted in the duties a nation’s people embrace instead of in the qualities of persons, and as something to be asserted by the nation instead of being dependent on recognition by colonizers. Viewing themselves as on a ‘periphery,’ they appropriated ideas from China and the West, and asserted their dignity by harnessing national shame in productive ways.
Phan Bội Châu (1867-1940)
Phan Chu Trinh (1872-1926)
Nguyễn An Ninh (1900-1943)
Phạm Qùynh (1892-1945)
Hồ Chí Minh (1890-1969)
Nguyễn Mạnh Tường (1909-1997)
My teaching aims to cultivate global citizenship and leadership skills in young people through engagement with diverse perspectives. These aims are also pursued through my work with the Center for International Experiential Learning, a program that provides undergraduates from numerous universities academic and experiential education for conflict analysis.
My parents were Vietnamese refugees who settled in San Jose, California where I was born and raised. Before coming to Gettysburg, I earned a B.A. in political science at UC Irvine. After that, I taught English in Vietnam. Then, I did a Master's in conflict analysis at the University of Amsterdam supported by a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship and a Ph.D in political science at UC Riverside.