Catherine H. Nguyen is a scholar of the Vietnamese diaspora and Asian American literature. She is a Fellow of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard 2021-2022 and the 2021 ACLS Fellowship Program. Catherine is currently an Assistant Professor in Asian Diasporic Literatures with the Writing, Literature & Publishing Department at Emerson College.
Catherine's research is in and at the intersections of Asian American, transpacific, postcolonial, and critical refugee studies. Her book project Children Born of War, Adoptees Made by War: Vietnamese Diasporic Contestations of Empire and Race that investigates the Vietnamese mixed-race child and the transracial adoptee as the figures through which the United States and France negotiate citizenship and refugee displacement and rewrite military loss in their histories of empire in Vietnam. It challenges the prevailing idea that constructs the mixed-race child as an object of rescue by employing the conceptual framework of hospitality to reveal the impossibility of their full incorporation through repatriation and adoption. Examining documentary films, memoirs, and literary works in French and English, the project explores how the mixed-race child as subject complicates the categories of refugee and adoptee and simultaneously undermines the expected gratitude with acts of hostility.
More broadly, Catherine's research and teaching interests include Asian American and Asian diasporic literatures, critical refugee studies, critical adoptee studies, and interrogations of empire and militarism, questions of form and figuration as well as graphic novels and visual culture written in English and French. Her essays have appeared in Adoption & Culture and in edited volumes on multiethnic graphic novels and on postmigratory Francophone literature.