Cindy A. Nguyen

Southeast Asian Area Studies Specialist

Digital Humanist & Historian


2019-               Brown University

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

Current         Reading and Misreading: Social Life of Libraries and Colonial Control in Vietnam, 1865-1958

Print culture, history of the book, libraries, media studies, literacy, literature, race and gender


2013-2019       University of California, Berkeley

Primary Field in Southeast Asia 

  • Comprehensive area studies training in history, politics, and culture of Southeast Asia (pre-modern to modern) with a focus on modern Vietnam
  • Directed by Professor Peter Zinoman (Vietnam) and Associate Professor Penelope Edwards (Cambodia)

Second Field in Knowledge Systems: Classification & Colonial Knowledge

  • Comparative and thematic field on history of knowledge, information, and classification
  • Directed by Associate Professor Janaki Bakhle (South Asia) and Professor Cathryn Carson (Historian of Science and Technology)

Outside Field in Digital Humanities & Data Science

  • Interdisciplinary methodology and project development using text analysis, library and information sciences, computational analysis, machine learning, and natural language processing
  • Directed by Assistant Professor David Bamman (School of Information)

2011-2013       Michigan State University

Master of Arts in History – Southeast Asia, Advised by Associate Professor Charles Keith

2006-2010       University of California, Los Angeles

Bachelor of Arts in History and Southeast Asian Studies; Minors: Global Studies, Political Science


2020                Pattana Kitiarsa Southeast Asian 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                LA Review of Books, Publishing Workshop and Incubator+

2019                NEH Institute at the East-West Center, Honolulu, “Colonial Experiences and their Legacies in Southeast Asia”

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

2018                National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Writing Fellowship

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

2016-2017       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

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

2014                Foreign Language Area Studies: Vietnamese, Vietnamese Language Studies, Saigon

2013-2019       University of California, Berkeley University Regents-Intern Fellowship

2012                FUTH Graduate Summer School and Scholarship at Hanyang University, Seoul Korea


2020                Book Chapter in Edited Volume: (In revision) “Creating the National Library in Saigon: Colonial Legacies, Fragmented Collections, and Reading Publics, 1946-1958,” in Rethinking Republican Vietnam: Ideological and Political Foundations of the First Republic, 1920-1963, Volume 1 edited by Nu-Anh Tran and Tuong Vu

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, Summer 2020, Volume 15

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

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.

2014                Book Review: “The Cost of Progress,” of Luc Xi: Prostitution and Venereal Disease in Colonial Hanoi by Shaun Kingsley Malarney, International Institute of Asian Studies, 22 October 2014, New Asia Books

2013                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 University Press, 2013

2011                Journal Article: “Beyond Betrayal: ‘Collaboration’ in Early 20th Century Vietnam,” Columbia East Asia Review, Volume 4, Spring 2011.


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 – Organized Seminar, 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


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                “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

2013                Digital Humanities “Sorting Things Out” Workshop at Umea University, HUMlab, Umea, Sweden 5-6 December

2013                “Finding Civilization: A Discursive Study of Vietnamese Student Migration to France,” Panel Cultures & Society in Migration, Michigan State University Migration without Boundaries Conference, East Lansing, 4-5 October

2013                “Movement and Gender: Representations of Tourism in Late Colonial Vietnam,” Panel Traffic: Travel, Translation, and Illicit Trade in Colonial Indochina, Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference, San Diego, 21-24 March

2012    “Travel and Translation through Vietnamese Travel Stories Du Ký,” “Borders of Knowledge” International Graduate Student Summer School, Flying University of Transnational Humanities (FUTH)- Research Institute of Comparative History and Culture, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea, 15-18 July


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

2019-Present   Principal Investigator, “Vietnamese Social Library” – Database, Visualization of Vietnamese Historical Publishing and Library Data

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

2014-Present   Principal Investigator,  “Invisible Authorship: Critical Anlaysis of Collaborative Colonial Text” – Critical Digital Humanities, Indigenous Knowledge, Visual Data- Presented at DH Faire Berkeley On Examining a Peripheral Text: Henri Oger & Technique du Peuple Annamite”- Poster

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

2013                Principal Investigator, “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


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

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

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

2013-2019    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

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

2014-2015       Graduate Student Instructor, UC Berkeley History Department

2014                Translator and Researcher, Biography of Susan Sontag by Benjamin Moser

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 Specialistfor MSU Vietnam Group Archive

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

Visualization Lead, “MSU Vietnam Group Archive Timeline

2012-2013       Organizing Board for Interdisciplinary Conference on Migration Studies


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

2019 Fall         Contested Histories of Colonial Indochina: Undergraduate seminar on history, culture, and politics of French colonial Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos at Brown University

2018                History & Memory of Vietnamese Refugees: Guest Lecture at Pawcatuck Middle School, CT

2016 Fall         Memory & History:Guest Lecture & Discussion

2015 Spring     History of Mao: Graduate Student Instructor (upper division)

2014 Fall         History of Vietnam: Graduate Student Instructor (upper division)

2014 Fall         Instructional Technology:Pedagogy Talk & Discussion

2008-2011       Academic Peer Learning Supervisor & Facilitator,UCLA Division of Undergraduate EducationSupervised 100 undergraduate tutors for campus-wide Peer Learning Tutoring Services for ESL, Math & Sciences, and Athletics academic support


Artist-Historian: Cross-pollinates between art, technology, and language

2016-Present   Artist, “M, Translated” multimedia film project on translation, memory, refugee communities; Awarded Brown Arts Initiative Grant

2019-Present   Filmmaker, The Undeniable Force of Khó Khăn” film, featured at Viet Film Festival (2019), Critical Refugee Archives (2020); published release in, This is for m”, and AJAR Press

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

2016-2019    Independent Publisher, Arts Curator and Director, HAPTIC PRESS

2016-Present    Artist and Project Director, “Mis-Reading” multimedia visual art, cross-genre and community project on feminism and empowerment


  • Python: Applied comprehension, project development experience
  • Text Analysis & Topic Modeling: Mallet, Natural Language Toolkit, Voyant
  • Visualization: Gephi, timeline.js, charts.js, highcharts.js
  • Data & Databases: GitHub, MySQL, Relational Databases, Open Office, Open Refine
  • Project Management, Digital Research Project Consulting, Startup & Organization Operations
  • Visual: Virtual Reality, 360 Video, Film Production, Photography
  • Content Management Systems: Drupal, WordPress
  • Design: Adobe InDesign, book layout, design publishing
  • Vietnamese: Native fluency in reading, speaking, advanced writing
  • French: Intermediate reading, speaking, writing