Cindy A. Nguyen

Historian of Empire, Print Culture, Southeast Asia

Digital Humanities and Vietnam Studies Specialist


2021-                University of California, San Diego

                        UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Literature and History departments

2019-2021          Brown University

                        Postdoctoral Fellow in History Department and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities


Bibliotactics: Social Life of Libraries and Colonial Control in Vietnam, 1865-1958

Vietnamese Visual Texts: Pluralizing Narratives through Visual Encyclopedia

Pulau Bidong: Transient Communities and Landscapes of Vietnamese Refugee Life, 1975-2005

Distributing Revolution: Propaganda, Statistics, and Information in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, 1955-1975


2013-2019          University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D. in History

Primary Field in Southeast Asia

Second Field in Knowledge Systems: Classification & Colonial Knowledge

Outside Field in Digital Humanities & Data Science

2011-2013          Michigan State University, Master of Arts in History

2006-2010          University of California, Los Angeles, Bachelor of Arts in History and Southeast Asian Studies; Minors: Global Studies, Political Science


2022                 Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography Rare Book School, Junior Fellow

2022                 The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing Research Development Grants for BIPOC Scholars

2021                 Phyllis Dain Library History Best Dissertation Award – American Library Association

2021-                University of California Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship

2020                 Pattana Kitiarsa Southeast Asia Council Prize, Association for Asian Studies, “The Social Life of the Hanoi Central Library: Reading Cultures & Public Space, 1919-1941”

2020                 Center for Khmer Studies Senior Fellowship, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

2020                 Brown Arts Initiative Research & Development Grant for Documentary Film on Refugee Exodus

2019                 Vietnam Studies Group – Association for Asian Studies Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper

2019                 National Endowment for the Humanities Institute – Colonial Experiences and their Legacies in Southeast Asia, East-West Institute, Honolulu

2018                 National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Writing Fellowship

2017                 Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship – Vietnam & France

2016                 Fulbright Institute of International Education US Student Fellowship – Vietnam

2016                 École française d’Extrême-Orient Field Scholarship in the Hanoi Centre

2016                 D. Kim History of Science in East Asia Fellowship

2014-2015          Digital Humanities at Berkeley Collaborative Research Award, Digital Humanities Fellow

2014, 2016         Institute for East Asian Studies Digital History Research Fellowship


2021                 Book Chapter in Edited Volume: “Creating the National Library in Saigon: Colonial Legacies, Fragmented Collections, and Reading Publics, 1946-1958,” in Building a Republican Nation in Postcolonial Vietnam, 1920-1963, Volume 1, edited by Nu-Anh Tran and Tuong Vu, (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2023)

2021                 Book Review: Review of Making Two Vietnams: War and Youth Identities, 1965-1975 by Olga Dror, Cambridge University Press, 2018. Journal of Vietnamese Studies, (2021) Volume 16, No. 1: 182-188.

2021                 Published Conference Proceedings: “Designing the Virtual Rosetta: A Tool for Exploring Historical Drawings in VR” by Anessa Petteruti, Cindy Nguyen, David H. Laidlaw, 6th Workshop on Visualization for the Digital Humanities “The Politics of Scale,” Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers VIS 2021, 24 October, pp. 7-11, doi: 10.1109/VIS4DH53644.2021.00006.

2020                 Solo-Authored Research Article in Peer Reviewed Journal: “Reading Rules: The Symbolic and Social Spaces of Reading in the Hanoi Central Library, 1919-1941,” Journal of Vietnamese Studies, (2020) Volume 15, No. 3: 1-35.

2016                 Translation (Vietnamese to English): “The Library of the French School of the Far East” by Ngô Thế Long, Thưviện Học viện Viễn Đông Bác cổ, Tp chí Thông tin Khoa hc xã hi, No.7, 2016. Translated by Cindy A. Nguyen.

2015                 Book Chapter in Edited Volume: “A Xu/Sou for the Students: A Discourse Analysis of Vietnamese Student Migration to France in the Late Colonial Period” in The Question of Return: Leaving, Arriving, and Returning in an Age of Transnational Migration, ed. Michiel Baas, (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2015)

2014                 Book Review: “The Cost of Progress,” of Luc Xi: Prostitution and Venereal Disease in Colonial Hanoi by Shaun Kingsley Malarney, New Asia Books, International Institute of Asian Studies, (October 2014):


2022                 “Breathing Life into Archival Research on Library History in Colonial Vietnam: Challenges and Opportunities,” Lecture, The Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia, Southeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies, 15 March

2022                 “Virtual World Building in Digital Humanities,” Lecture, University of California San Diego Preparing Accomplished Transfers for the Humanities Program and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 24 February

2021                 “International Library History Research,” Lecture, American Libraries Association, Library History Round Table, 12 June

2021                 “The Politics of ‘Good Reading’: Libraries and the Public in Late Colonial Vietnam,” Lecture, Yale University, Council on Southeast Asian Studies, New Haven, CT, 7 April

2020                 “Docupoetics and Intergenerational Memory: Vietnamese Refugee Narratives and the Language of Home,” Lecture, Artist Talk, and Film Screening, Yale University, Asian Diasporas Panel, New Haven, CT, 11 November

2020                 “Translating Across Time and Space,” Lecture, Artist Talk, and Film Screening, Harvard University, Committee on Ethnicity, Rights, and Migration, Cambridge, MA, 21 February

2020                 “Contested Histories of Colonial Indochina,” Lecture, Middlesex Community College, Asian Studies Development Program East-West Center, Bedford, MA, 11 February

2017                 “Operationalizing Historical Questions: Datafying the Library of Congress Vietnam Collections,” Conference Organizer and Presenter, Texts as Data- Data as Texts Seminar and Workshop at Yonsei University, Seoul, 12 January – Led Lecture & Discussion

2016                 “Lịch sử Thư viện Việt Nam 1887-1986: Phương pháp tiếp cận nghiên cứu của đại học Hoa kỳ” (History of Libraries in Vietnam: American Research Methods), Lecture, Vietnam National University (Đại học Quốc gia Hà Nội – Trường Đại học Khoa học Xã hội và Nhân văn), Hanoi, Vietnam, 23 December

2016                 “Lịch sử Thư viện Việt Nam 1887-1986” (A Survey of Libraries in Vietnam in the 20th Century) Lecture, Institute of Social Sciences Information (Viện thông tin khoa học xã hội), Hanoi, Vietnam, 4 November


2023                 Panel Convener and Presenter, “The Decolonization of Libraries and Building Postcolonial Reading Publics in Saigon, Hanoi, and Phnom Penh, 1945-1965 on the panel “Global Documentation Flows: The Movement and Materiality of Information through Political Upheaval and its Aftermaths,” Global Asias 6 Conference, Pennsylvania State University, State College, 31 March-1 April

2023                 “To Collect: The Decolonization of Libraries and Building Postcolonial Reading Publics,” Panel “History, Community and Memory: The Vietnamese Past in the Vietnamese American Present,” Association for Asian Studies, Boston, 17-19 March

2023                 “Computing Texts and Counting Meaning on the Margins: Challenges and Possibilities of Natural Language Processing in Asian Digital Humanities,” Association for Asian Studies, Boston, 17-19 March

2022                 Presenter, “’Misreading’ as a Theoretical and Historical Framework: The Case of Colonial Vietnam,” The Pasts and Futures of the Library Conference, California State University, Fullerton, 11-12 March

2021                 Co-Presenter: “Designing the Virtual Rosetta: A Tool for Exploring Historical Drawings in VR” by Anessa Petteruti, Cindy Nguyen, David H. Laidlaw, 6th Workshop on Visualization for the Digital Humanities “The Politics of Scale,” Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers VIS 2021, 24 October

2020                 Conference Organizer, Moderator, Presenter: “Archiving Power: Vietnamese Refugee Studies and the Politics of Memory,” Mapping Power and Precarity in Southeast Asian/American Studies: Gender, Labor, and Critical Refugee Studies Workshop and Panel, Brown University, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, 13 November

2020                 Panel Convener and Presenter: “The Politics of ‘Good Reading’: Publishing, Libraries, and Propaganda in Colonial Vietnam,” Panel Organizer “Social Life of Print in Colonial Vietnam: From Cultural Economics to Politics of Information,” Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference, Boston, 19-22 March (Accepted)

2019                 “Creating the National Library in Saigon: Colonial Legacies, Republican Visions, and Reading Publics (1946-1958),” Workshop on Republican Vietnam, University of Oregon, Eugene 14-15 October

2019                 “Misbehaviors: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Labor in the Hanoi and Saigon Library, 1858-1945,” EuroSEAS International Conference, Berlin, 10-13 September

2019                 “Reading Culture: The Material and Social History of Libraries in Colonial Vietnam,” Panel on “The Concept of Culture in Vietnam,” Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference, Denver, 21-24 March

2018                 “Technologies of Information: Libraries, Publishing, and Propaganda in Wartime Indochina (1908-1945),” Columbia University Wartime Asia Workshop, 5 October

2018                 “Reading and Misreading: From Temple of European Knowledge to Public Space of Vietnamese Modernity and Social Life in the Central Library Hanoi, 1919-1941,” 13th Singapore Graduate Forum on Southeast Asia Studies, ARI, National University of Singapore, 23-27 July – Presentation

2015                 “Invisible Authorship: New Perspectives on Translation and Colonial Texts,” Poster, Digital Humanities Faire, University of California, Berkeley, 8 April


Brown University, 2019-2021

Contested Histories of Colonial Indochina: Undergraduate seminar on history, culture, and politics of French colonial Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos (Fall 2019, Fall 2020) 

Virtual Reality and Visual Analysis Teaching Module and Collaboration with Multimedia Lab, Received Brown course development grant to apply digital humanities Angkor teaching module to courses in remote learning environments (Fall 2020)

Colonial Narratives and Visual Representation in Vietnam: Undergraduate independent study in department of Modern Culture & Media and History (Fall 2020)

Print and Power in Modern Southeast Asia: Undergraduate/graduate seminar on print culture and government legibility in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam (Spring 2020)

Digital Teaching Faculty Facilitator, Anchor Course Design Institute

Recruited as faculty facilitator to assist faculty in digital teaching and course design (Summer 2020, Fall 2020)

University of California, Berkeley, 2014-2016

Mao & Chinese Communism: Graduate Student Instructor of undergraduate course UC Berkeley (Spring 2015)

History of Vietnam: Graduate Student Instructor of undergraduate course UC Berkeley (Fall 2014)

University of California, Los Angeles, 2008-2011 

Academic Peer Learning Supervisor & Facilitator, UCLA Division of Undergraduate Education Supervised 100 undergraduate tutors for campus-wide Peer Learning Tutoring Services for ESL, Math & Sciences, and Athletics academic support

Digital Pedagogy Lab, 2020

Faculty Group Leader and Participant, Received scholarship to bring a team of Brown undergraduates to workshop critical approaches to online and remote learning for the future

Independent Digital Humanities Advising, 2020

Advisor, Designed digital humanities curricula and project development of “Art of Dissent” visual analysis of Hong Kong protest art


  • Global Digital History: Critical Data and Design in the Study of Cultural Heritage
  • Visual and Textual Analysis of the Past
  • Data and the Humanities: Critiques, Methods, and Experimental Design in Digital Humanities
  • Print and Power: Print Culture, Literature, and Politics of Knowledge in Modern Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia
  • Colonial/Postcolonial History of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia: Culture, Power, Change
  • Global History of the Vietnam/American War: Cultural Studies of Conflict and Diasporic Literature
  • History of Southeast Asian Urbanism: Conceptualizing Space, Materiality, and Mobility
  • History of Information in Southeast Asia: Orality, Documentation, and Forms of Knowledge
  • Writing the Past: Archives, Letters, and Historical Documents Composition Course
  • Institutions of Heritage: Theory and Practice of Libraries, Archives, and Museums


2020-Present     Principal Investigator, “Vietnamese Visual Texts,” Content, visual, and material analysis of colonial era collaborative texts; Funded by Brown Connect Collaborative Sprint Awards

2019-Present     Affiliated Faculty, Virtual Angkor,” Digital teaching of virtual reality simulation of 13th century Angkor temple complex; Development of teaching module for Brown University

2016-2018          Co-Principal Investigator, “Deconstructing Libraries: A Dual Approach to Historical Research and Machine Learning” Library of Congress Data Science Project – Report

2014-2016          Co-Principal Investigator, “Vietnamese Intellectual Networks Database” , funded through Andrew W. Mellon – UC Berkeley Digital Humanities Fellowship

2014-2015          Research Project and Presenter, On Examining a Peripheral Text: Henri Oger & Technique du Peuple Annamite”- Poster

2013                 Presenter and Participant, “Visualizing Vietnamese Print Culture and Print Industry,” Digital History School, Umea University Sweden

2013                 Visualization and Research Lead,Detroit Digital” Cultural Heritage Informatics Field School, Michigan State University


2021                 Vietnamese Boat People Journeys Map, Digital Humanities Advisor

2021                 Library History Round Table, American Library Association, Editor Search Committee

2020                 Interdisciplinary Southeast Asia Studies Workshop, Director of faculty and graduate student workshop, successfully funded by Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America

2020                 Digital Teaching Faculty Facilitator, Anchor Course Design Institute at Brown University

Recruited as faculty facilitator to assist faculty in digital teaching and course design

2019-Present     Curriculum and Programming Mentor, Southeast Asia Student Initiative at Brown University

Student led initiative to increase the teaching and research of Southeast Asia on campus

2019-Present     Postdoctoral Fellow, Cogut Institute for the Humanities at Brown University

Participant in weekly meetings to workshop research from scholars and students across campus

2016-2017          Working Group, École française d’Extrême-Orient, Hanoi Centre

Multi-lingual (French, Vietnamese, and English) research group with Professor Andrew Hardy

2013-2016          Co-Director and Member, Berkeley Digital Humanities Working Group

Directed Digital Humanities Working Group (2013-2016), Coordinated the cross campus and bay area Digital Humanities Faire at UC Berkeley (2015), NEH funded Digital Humanities Fellow at Berkeley (2014-2015), Participated in Bay area Digital Humanities workshops and events (present)

2014-2015          Digital History Coordinator, UC Berkeley History Department and Social Science D-Lab

2014-2015          Graduate Student Instructor, UC Berkeley History Department

2013-2014          Campus Digital Humanities Assistant, Research Information Technologies, UC Berkeley Developed campus-wide initiative for digital humanities research, teaching, and methodology

2012-2013          Research Assistant, Translator, and Area Specialist for MSU Vietnam Group Archive

Collaborative digitization project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Visualization Lead, “MSU Vietnam Group Archive Timeline


2020-2021          Filmmaker, “Translating Across Time and Space: Rewriting the Landscape and Narrative of ‘Refugee’, funded by the Brown Arts Initiative Development Grant

2020                 Art Publication and Art Exhibition, “Train/Xe lửa” and “Confessions of a Vietnamese Refugee” Publication in Pank Magazine Vietnamese Folio, forthcoming

                        Exhibition in the “Textures of Remembrance: Vietnamese Artists and Writers Reflect on the Fall of Saigon (Oakland Asian Cultural Center and Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network)

2020                 Invited Panelist, “Intergenerational Communication and Everyday Language,” Oakland Asian Cultural Center

2019                 Short Film, “The Undeniable Force of Khó Khăn” film

Featured at Viet Film Festival (2019), semi-finalist for Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival (2020)

Published release in, This is for m”, and AJAR Press

2018                 Writer, mental health non-profit and open source project. Essay “An Asian American’s Language of Mental Health”

2018                 Lecturer, “History & Memory of Vietnamese Refugees” Lecture at Pawcatuck Middle School, CT

2017                 Art Publication, “Train/Xe lửa” Bi-lingual poetry on History, Memory, and Language in independent Vietnamese and global publisher Ajar Press, issue 5, song song || para||el, Fall


  • Vietnamese: Native fluency in reading, speaking, advanced writing
  • French: Advanced reading, intermediate speaking, writing
  • Visual: Virtual Reality, 360 Video, Film Production, Photography
  • Data & Databases: MySQL, Relational Databases, Open Refine, Text Analysis
  • Text Analysis & Topic Modeling: Mallet, Natural Language Toolkit, Voyant
  • Content Management Systems: Drupal, WordPress, Canvas, GitHub
  • Visualization: Tableau, Palladio, Voyant, Gephi, timeline.js
  • Project Management, Digital Research Project Consulting, Startup and Organization Operations