Nhung Tran

Nhung Tran

Centre for Southeast Asian Studies
Professor, Department of History


Nhung Tuyet Tran is former director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies and Associate Professor of History. Trained in Chinese legal history at the University of Pennsylvania and Southeast Asian social history at UCLA, Tran’s intellectual interests lie at the intersection of gender, law, and religion in early modern Vietnam.

She is the author of Familial Properties: Gender, State & Society in Early Modern Vietnam, 1460-1783 (Hawai’i, 2018); editor of Her first book, Vietnam: Borderless Histories (Wisconsin 2006, co-edited with Tony Reid); and other shorter research pieces.. Tran is currently writing a monograph on the cultural history of Vietnamese Catholicism (1680-1783).  More recently, Tran has begun to study the Akhar Thrah script, a traditional script of the Cham peoples of Southern Vietnam, to interpret contracts between Cham women and Vietnamese in Central and Southern Vietnam. She has begun a research program that examines the transformation of Vietnamese property law from the establishment of the Lê Code (1460) to the final imperial code of the Nguyễn Dynasty (1812), with an eye to examining the impact of Cham constructions about property in Vietnamese law.

In addition to her research on early modern Vietnamese history, Tran is committed to public history and the relationship between the production of history and development policy. To these ends, she has collaborated with the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology on an exhibit that explores Roman Catholic culture in contemporary Vietnam (2008-09). She has led a team of researchers for the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) in a study that measures women’s access to land rights across ten provinces in Vietnam (2011-12). She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Association of Asian Studies, as Chair of the Southeast Asia Council (2013-14).

Tran teaches undergraduate survey courses on Southeast Asian and Vietnamese histories, and comparative courses on Southeast Asian food history; and gender and sexuality in East and Southeast Asia. In 2012 and 2013, she undergraduates to Vietnam and Cambodia  as a part of the International Course Module of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Tran teaches graduate courses on religion and society in Southeast Asia and prepares graduate students for fields in the study of early modern and modern Southeast Asia and Vietnamese histories.

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