Vietnamese Studies at Columbia University
By establishing a new program of Vietnamese studies with the recent additions of John Phan and Liên-Hằng Nguyễn, EALAC distinguishes itself as one of the only departments worldwide to comprise all major East Asian cultures. John Phan is an expert on the history of languages in Vietnam, from premodern to early-modern times, including both spoken and literary forms. His work focuses particularly on the dynamic relationship between China and Vietnam, and between Literary Chinese and vernacular Vietnamese languages in history. Phan’s work on premodern Vietnam is complemented by the expertise of Liên-Hằng Nguyễn, the Dorothy Borg Associate Professor in the History of the United States and East Asia, and a renowned expert on U.S.-Vietnam relations in the Vietnamese theater of the cold war. Nguyễn’s work focuses on the web of Cold War international relations that enmeshed both North and South Vietnam, as they struggled through the Second Indochina War. In all their work, Phan & Nguyễn focus on connections, exchanges, and repercussive contact between Vietnam and its neighbors, in both East and Southeast Asia, and emphasize an interregional approach to the study of Vietnam. Phan and Nguyễn are also joined by a new full-time lecturer in the Vietnamese language. Nguyễn Phương Chung brings extensive experience as a classroom instructor, innovator of language pedagogy, and trainer of diplomats at the US Embassy in Hanoi to the department’s new Vietnamese language program, and works closely with both John Phan and Liên-Hằng Nguyễn in curricular development on Vietnam.
The Vietnamese program is also committed to strong collaborative relationships with leading academic institutions of Vietnam, including the Institute for Sino-Nôm Research, the Institute for Information & Technology, the Institute of History, and the broader University of Social Sciences & Humanities. We are also in the process of creating a new digital platform for the archiving of resources and the exploration of digital humanities tools related to Vietnamese studies. This new platform, which we hope to launch within the year, is conducted in partnership with Cornell University, and will feature a permanent archive of thousands of manuscripts currently curated by the Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation, as well as several digital resources published by the Foundation as well.
Finally, our location in New York City—as the home of the United Nations and Vietnam’s permanent mission to the U.N., the Vietnamese Consulate, numerous artistic, cultural, and academic institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, Asia Society, and Henry Luce Foundation, as well as the Institute for Vietnamese Culture & Education (IVCE), makes EALAC a uniquely distinguished and interconnected center for the pursuit of Vietnamese studies. A global hub, New York is a natural meeting place of diverse minds and backgrounds, as well as traveling dignitaries, intellectuals, artists, and musicians; and students who choose to pursue Vietnamese studies here will benefit from a perspective, exposure, and connectivity unrivaled by any other location.