ALC welcomes Dr. Nhu Truong, new faculty member in Southeast Asia and Social Justice

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures is delighted to welcome Dr. Nhu Truong, who will join the department as a new faculty member in Fall 2024.  Dr. Truong joins recent hires in History, Dr. Juan Fernandez, and Anthropology/International Studies, Dr. Veronika Kusumaryati, who joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation focused on Social Justice and Southeast Asia and housed in the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

Dr. Truong specializes in the study of authoritarian politics and social resistance in Southeast Asia. Her research maps the shifting parameters of repressiveness-responsiveness in authoritarian regimes and illuminates the contentious dynamics of people’s resistance particularly in Vietnam, China, and Cambodia. Her monograph in progress, Authoritarian Expropriation: Reactive and Institutionalized Responsiveness in Vietnam and China, examines the endemic dispossession of land from villagers and the perplexing nature of why two communist regimes diverge in their arbitration of social conflict and citizen’s demand for social justice. Truong’s work tackles authoritarianism and social resistance through the lens of history, contextual knowledge, intensive fieldwork, archival research, careful conceptualization, and theory-building. Her focus on everyday societal perspectives and state-society conflicts is rooted in a long-standing commitment to Southeast Asia that values language acquisition and connections across disciplinary boundaries.

Dr. Truong has published in Democratization, Journal of East Asian Studies, Problems of Post-Communism, and with Cambridge University Press. Her most recent publications include “Agrarian Agitations: Transcripts of Resistance and Authoritarian Feedback Under Vietnam’s Repressive-Responsive Regime,” “Agents of Resistance against Autocratization in Asia” in Democratization, and The Dragon’s Underbelly: Dynamics and Dilemmas of Vietnam’s Economy and Politics. Her research has been supported by various grants and fellowships, including the Senior Research Fellowship from the Center for Khmer Studies, the Rosenberg Institute Scholar Fellowship from Suffolk University, the Asia Workshops Alumni Professional Development Grant from the American Political Science Association (APSA), and the Southeast Asia Research Group Pre-Dissertation Fellowship.

With the aim of advancing wider scholarship and meaningful engagements with Southeast Asia, Dr. Truong serves as Program Chair of APSA Southeast Asian Politics Group, Southeast Asia Council Member-elect of the Association of Asian Studies, and Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Vietnamese Studies. As a Mansfield-Luce Asia Scholars Network Fellow, she also actively engages in public scholarship that places Southeast Asia and grassroots interests at the center of public discourse and policy dialogues. Prior to joining the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she was Assistant Professor in Politics and Public Affairs, with an affiliation in East Asian Studies, at Denison University.

Dr. Truong received her PhD in Political Science specializing in comparative politics with an area focus on Southeast Asia and East Asia from McGill University. She was a Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow on Contemporary Asia in the Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University and a Postdoctoral Associate in the Council on Southeast Asian Studies at Yale University. Before pursuing her doctoral studies, she completed an MPA in International Policy and Management at NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, an MA in Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and a BA in International Studies at Kenyon College.