Cindy Nguyen

Cindy Nguyen
POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW IN INTERNATIONAL HUMANITIES (HISTORY)

Biography

Cindy Nguyen is a Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities in the Department of History and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities. She earned her Ph.D. in History at the University of California, Berkeley (2019). She specializes in the history of Vietnam, Southeast Asia print culture, and libraries. Her book manuscript, “Misreading: The Social Life of Libraries and Colonial Control in Vietnam, 1865–1958” examines the cultural and political history of libraries in Hanoi and Saigon from the French colonial period through to the decolonization of libraries. She examines the institution of the libraries through the lens of cultural imperialism, national legitimacy, and social practices of public reading. She reveals how the library reading room became a space of urban sociability, literary cosmopolitanism, and self-directed education. She considers how ‘builders and users’ (librarians, readers, technicians, administrators) conceptualize libraries, the public, and literacy in 20th-century Vietnam. In 2019–2020, she taught Southeast Asian history courses titled “Contested Histories of Colonial Indochina" and "Print and Power in Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam." She developed a teaching module on visual analysis and virtual reality in her Indochina course with the international digital humanities project Virtual Angkor and the Multimedia Lab at Brown. With funding from the Brown Arts Initiative, she is currently working on a poetic documentary film on the language of Vietnamese refugee remembrance and history.