I am a historian of early modern Vietnam and China, with interests in book history, diplomatic and cultural exchange, and environmental history. My first monograph, Ming China and Vietnam: Negotiating Borders in Early Modern Asia (Cambridge, 2016), emphasized mutuality and negotiation in Sino-Vietnamese relations during the Ming and Mạc dynasties. My work on book history has been published in Journal of Asian Studies and Journal of Vietnamese Studies. My article “Publishing, Book Culture, and Reading Practices in Vietnam: The View from Thắng Nghiêm and Phổ Nhân Temples,” (2018) uses newly available online databases of Vietnamese historical texts to explore the connections between the pre-twentieth century publishing industries of Vietnam and China. I argue that economies of scale in Chinese publishing pushed Vietnamese publishers to focus on “bestsellers” like dictionaries and manuals. A second article, “Books Without Borders: Phạm Thận Duật and the Culture of Knowledge in Early Nineteenth-Century Vietnam” (2018), reconstructs the library and intellectual world of one particular Vietnamese scholar, Phạm Thận Duật (1825-1885) to challenge the prevailing North-South binary of Sino-Vietnamese studies.
My teaching interests span East Asian and Southeast Asian history. In the quest to produce more translated primary sources for use in the classroom, my co-author Zhao Lu and I have translated and introduced an early nineteenth century shipwreck tale about Vietnam, Hainan zazhu. Our book Miscellany of the South Seas: A Chinese Scholar’s Chronicle of Shipwreck and Travel through 1830s Vietnam is available in Open Access here.
I have two current research projects. One concerns the history of miasma in the Sino-Vietnamese borderlands. The other takes up the 1845 visit of the U.S.S Constitution to Vietnam to better understand the first century of US-Vietnam relations
With Lu Zhao, Miscellany of the South Seas: A Chinese Scholar’s Chronicle of Shipwreck and Travel through 1830s Vietnam, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2023.
“Our Mountains and Rivers Have Changed: Nature and Empire in the Ming Colonization of Đại Việt, 1407—28,” The Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 53, 1—2, (June) 2022: 80-99.
“Philips Library Digitized Dictionaries from Vietnam and Unlocks Stories of Museum Founders and their Travels. Connected PEM, February 4, 2022. Link
“Books without Borders: Phạm Thận Duật (1825-1885) and the Culture of Knowledge in Mid-Nineteenth Century Vietnam,” Journal of Asian Studies, 77.3 (2018): 713-740.
“Publishing, Book Culture, and Reading Practices in Vietnam: The View from Thắng Nghiêm and Phổ Nhân Temples,” Journal of Vietnamese Studies, 13.3 2018: 9-28.
Awards and Services:
Academy of Korean Studies Conference Grant (2018)
Penn State Humanities in the Digital Age Grant (2018)
Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Scholar grant (2017-2018)
Penn State Center for Humanities and Information Faculty Fellow (2017)
Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship (2016)
Penn State Institute of Arts and Humanities Resident Scholar Grant (2014)
ACLS Comparative Perspectives on Chinese Culture and Society Conference Grant (2013)
Member of the editorial board of Journal of Vietnamese Studies
Vice President of the Geiss P. and Margaret Y. Hsu Foundation
Founding member of the Korea Vietnam Working Group
HIST173 Vietnam in War and Peace
HIST177 – The Rise of Modern Southeast Asia
HIST 187 – Global Taiwan
HIST 255 History of the Book
ASIA 416 Gender and Sexuality in China
ASIA 531 History of the Book in East Asia
HIST 597 Environmental History of Asia