Thang Anh Dao

Faculty Advisor: Viet Nguyen

Contact Information


Biographical Sketch

Thang Dao was born in Vietnam and grew up in Poland and Germany. She received her B.A. in American Studies at Mount Holyoke College. Thang’s scholarly interests include exile/diaspora theories, memory studies, Asian American literature and Vietnam/Vietnamese American Studies. Her dissertation, “Writing Exile: Vietnamese Literature in the Diaspora” is a multilingual and interdisciplinary project that explores issues of freedom, memory and imperialism in writings by authors of Vietnamese origin in the United States, France, Germany and Poland. Thang is the recipient of several national academic fellowships, including the International fellowship from AAUW. In addition she has published poetry in Vietnamese in several anthologies and community journals. Thang is fluent in Vietnamese, English, German, Polish and possesses reading proficiency in French. She is currently working with Professors Viet Nguyen (dissertation chair), John Carlos Rowe, Macarena Gomez-Barris, Ruthie Wilson Gilmore and Panivong Norindr.


  • B.A. American Studies and Ethnicity, Mount Holyoke College, 05/2006
  • CERT American Studies and Ethnicity (Asian American Studies), Mount Holyoke College, 05/2006

Employment History

  • Lecturer, University of California, Riverside, 2012-2013


Summary Statement of Research Interests

  • "Writing Exile: Vietnamese Literature in the Diaspora" addresses the contradictions within the concept of diaspora in current usage by examining the multilingual literary productions of Vietnamese people in the diaspora within a re-conceptualized framework of exile. Challenging a binary understanding of diaspora and homeland as spaces of freedom and oppression and emphasizing an understanding of diaspora through differences, I redefine exile as a process that encompasses multiple instances of geographical and ideological displacement, which begins in the native country and continues in the diaspora. Within this framework, the project examines how selected novels from the United States, France, and Germany reflect and respond to the Vietnamese Diaspora’s complex condition of formation, which is informed by histories of ethnic conflicts, French colonization, American military intervention, and global Cold War politics. Locating this literature at the intersection of many national, imperial, and colonial aspirations, my analysis exposes the hierarchies of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and legal status that affect the relationships within and between the different communities of the Vietnamese Diaspora and render some diasporic subjects more vulnerable than others. At the same time, the dissertation also highlights how this notion of exile can provide a useful framework for identifying the potential of this body of literature to challenge the regimes of power governing the Diaspora. Within this struggle, which reveals rather than conceals the multiplicities and conflicts shaping Vietnamese diasporic communities, our understanding of diaspora is constantly questioned and remade at the same time.



  • Department of American Studies & Ethnicity
  • University of Southern California
  • 3620 South Vermont Avenue
  • Kaprielian Hall 462
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-2534