Researchers

Leslie Barnes

Leslie Barnes is Senior Lecturer of French Studies at the Australian National University. She is author of Vietnam and the Colonial Condition of French Literature (Nebraska, 2014), and co-editor of The Cinema of Rithy Panh: Everything Has a Soul (Rutgers University Press, 2021). Her current project studies literary and cinematic narratives that engage with questions of sex work, mobility, and human rights in Southeast Asia. She has published on these and other subjects in Journal of Vietnamese StudiesModern Language Notes, and French Cultural Studies. 

Karl Britto

Karl Britto is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is affiliated with the Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. He is author of Disorientation: France, Vietnam, and the Ambivalence of Interculturality (Hong Kong UP, 2004) and recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award (2008), Berkeley’s highest honor for teaching.  

Elizabeth Collins 

Elizabeth Collins received her PhD in French & Francophone Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and is currently a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research explores colonialism, race, migration, and culture in relation to the legacy of France’s empire in Asia, with a focus on the Vietnamese diaspora in the francophone world.  She is currently co-editing a special issue of Modern and Contemporary France, which includes an article of hers—‘Le Riz d’Indochine’ at the French table: representations of food, race and the Vietnamese in a colonial-era board game.” Meanwhile, her next project considers the experience of diasporic Vietnamese people as a part of the broader collectivity of “#AsiatiquesDeFrance”—a term currently employed by francophone activists, artists, writers, and filmmakers of Asian heritage. Through the study of their works, Collins explores how their narratives are collectively giving rise to new forms of Asian solidarity in the face of anti-Asian racism in France today. 

Tess Do 

Tess Do is Lecturer in French Studies in the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her teaching and research interests lie in the field of Francophone literature and deal with issues related to the colonization and decolonization, exile and migration, cultural identity and the relations between the migrants and their homeland. Focusing in particular on Indochina and the areas of food, memory and cultural heritage, her main publications include articles and book chapters on contemporary Francophone writers of Vietnamese origin. Her current research focuses on the transoceanic memory of the Indochinese indentured workers and the translation into English of Chan Dang, a historical novel by New-Caledonian author Jean Vanmai. 

Alexandra Kurmann 

Alexandra Kurmann is Senior Lecturer in French and Francophone Studies. She completed a PhD in Comparative French and German Literature in 2014 at the University of Melbourne and a Masters in European Comparative Literature at the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK.  She is a specialist in Vietnamese Diaspora Literature, she works more broadly in refugee, migrant and exile writing in French and English. Her first monograph is entitled Intertextual Weaving in the Work of Linda Lê: Imagining the Ideal Reader.  

Catherine Nguyen 

Catherine H. Nguyen earned her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her project Children Born of War, Adoptees Made by War: Vietnamese Diasporic Contestations of Empire and Race investigates the Vietnamese mixed-race child and the transracial adoptee as the figures through which the United States and France negotiate citizenship and refugee displacement and rewrite military loss in their histories of empire in Vietnam. It challenges the prevailing idea that constructs the mixed-race child as an object of rescue by employing the conceptual framework of hospitality to reveal the impossibility of their full incorporation through repatriation and adoption. Examining documentary films, memoirs, and literary works in French and English, the project explores how the mixed-race child as subject complicates the categories of refugee and adoptee and simultaneously undermines the expected gratitude with acts of hostility. More broadly, Nguyen’s research and teaching interests include Asian American and Asian diasporic literature, critical refugee studies, critical adoptee studies, and interrogations of empire and militarism as well as graphic novels and visual culture.  Her essays have appeared in Adoption & Culture and in edited volumes on multiethnic graphic novels and on postmigratory Francophone literature. Nguyen is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard as well as a 2021 American Council of Learned Societies fellow. Previously, she was a lecturer on History and Literature at Harvard.   

Nguyen Giang Huong 

Nguyen Giang Huong is the Head of the Southeast Asian (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) Languages and Civilization Division at the François Mitterrand – National Library of France and Fellow Researcher at the Institute of Modern Texts and Manuscripts (ITEM), under the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). She is also editor-in-chief of the website: vietlitfr.hypothese.org. Nguyen completed a PhD in French Literature in 2015 at University Paris Nanterre. Her research focuses on Vietnamese Francophone and Diaspora Literature, she works more broadly on intercultural and exile issues in Vietnamese-French writing.  

Her first monograph, La Littérature vietnamienne francophone (1913-1986), published in 2018, obtained the Renaissance Française Prize from the French Academy for Overseas Sciences in 2019.  She edited simultaneously an anthology entitled Pham Van Ky: un taoïsme littéraire, comprising critical articles and unpublished texts by this writer. 

Panivong Norindr 

Panivong Norindr is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He is author of Phantasmatic Indochina (1996).

Angelica Pithey So 

Angelica P. So (Ph.D., Emory University, 2019) works on 20th– and 21st-Century French and Francophone literature, with an emphasis on Southeast Asian narratives, films, and graphic novels. Her teaching and research interests include memory studies, critical race theory, whiteness studies, Francophone Africa, the Francophone Caribbean, Southeast Asian studies, and diaspora studies. 

Howie Tam 

Howie Tam earned his PhD in English at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently a Florence Kay Fellow at Brandeis University. His book project in progress, Rewriting Vietnam: Forms of Nationhood in Diasporic Literature, examines complex modes of national belonging, refugee cultural politics, and the Vietnam War’s legacy in diasporic Vietnamese literature from the United States and France—the two countries with the most entrenched imperial legacies in the country. Studying English- and French-language texts comparatively, this project rethinks “Vietnam” the war as not only an American war but also a Vietnamese civil war, in which communist North battled noncommunist South for sovereignty after French colonial rule. Rewriting Vietnam demonstrates how diasporic subjects challenge dominant narratives of war and postcolonial nation-building across Vietnam, the U.S., and France. The project also juxtaposes racial discourses in France and the U.S. by interrogating the conditions under which these societies have incorporated Vietnamese refugees. Tam’s research and teaching interests include Asian American literature, critical refugee studies, queer of color criticism, Vietnamese studies, and U.S. and French critical race studies. His essays have appeared in American Literature and the Journal of Vietnamese Studies. Before arriving at Brandeis, he was a postdoc at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University (2020-2021) and Assistant Director and Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth’s Consortium of Studies in Race, Migration, and Sexuality (2019-2020). 

Jack Yeager  

Jack A. Yeager is Professor of French Studies and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge. Before his arrival at LSU, he taught for twenty years at the University of New Hampshire-Durham. He studied intensive Vietnamese for a year as an Air Force enlistee at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California before spending some nineteen months stationed in East and Southeast Asia. After his military service, he earned a PhD in French with a minor in Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses primarily on Vietnamese Francophone narrative from Southeast Asia, Europe and North America and has appeared as monographs and in anthologies and journals. In 2016, he returned to Viet Nam on a Fulbright to teach American studies at Vietnam National University-Hanoi in the University of Languages and International Studies. His English translation of Kim Lefèvre’s autobiography Métisse blanche as White Métisse was published by the University of Hawai’i Press in 2018.  

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