Steering Committee

Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He is author of Writing the South Seas: Imagining the Nanyang in Chinese and Southeast Asian Postcolonial Literature (U of Washington Press, 2015 / National U of Singapore Press, 2016) and coeditor (with Shu-mei Shih and Chien-hsin Tsai) of Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader (Columbia U Press, 2013). His articles have also appeared in several journals, including positions: asia critique, Asian Cinema, Postcolonial Studies, and Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. He is currently working on a manuscript on inter-Asian cinema from the perspective of contemporary labor migration, popular culture exchange, and tourism.

Professor of Anthropology and Religion. Her books include The Divine Eye and the Diaspora: Vietnamese Syncretism Becomes Transpacific Caodaism (2015, University of Hawaii Press), The Play of Time: Kodi Perspectives on History, Calendars and Exchange (1996 University of California, Benda Prize in Southeast Asian Studies, Association of Asian Scholars), and Biographical Objects: How Things Tell the Stories of People’s Lives (1998 Routledge). She is the contributing editor of four books: Transpacific Studies: Framing an Emerging Field (with Viet Thanh Nguyen, University of Hawaii 2014), Headhunting and the Social Imagination in Southeast Asia (1996), A Space Between Oneself and Oneself: Anthropology as a Search for the Subject (1999) and Fragments from Forests and Libraries (2001). She served as President of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion from 2011-13, and has produced three ethnographic documentaries, including “The Left Eye of God: Caodaism Travels from Vietnam to California”, as well as two which deal with Sumba, eastern Indonesia: “Feast in Dream Village” and “Horses of Life and Death”. All of her documentaries are distributed by DER | Documentary Educational Resources.

Annette Kim

Annette M. Kim, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy. She is also the Director of SLAB, the spatial analysis laboratory at USC Price that advances the visualization of the social sciences for public service through teaching, research, and public engagement. She also holds a courtesy appointment at the USC Roski School of Art and Design.

Her research experiments with ways to recover data of overlooked peoples and phenomenon by incorporating fieldwork and humanities knowledge into spatial analysis. She utilizes critical cartography and spatial ethnography to re-conceptualize contemporary urbanism and find more inclusive and humane ways to design and govern the 21st century city. She has also researched the development of real estate markets and the reformation of property rights in transition countries in Eastern Europe and Asia. Her books include Sidewalk City: Re-Mapping Public Space in Ho Chi Minh City (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and Learning to be Capitalists: Entrepreneurs in Vietnam’s Transition Economy (Oxford University Press, 2008), translated into Vietnamese in 2022 by Nha Nam Press.

Previously, Dr. Kim was Associate Professor at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. She received her Ph.D. in city and regional planning and masters of visual studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She received her masters in public policy and urban planning from Harvard University and her B.A. in architecture and studio art from Wellesley College. She is a native of southern California.


University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and American Studies and Ethnicity. He is the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (Oxford University Press, 2002) and the co-editor of Transpacific Studies: Framing an Emerging Field (University of Hawaii Press, 2014). His novel The Sympathizer (Grove Press, 2016) is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as other numerous awards. His book Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War from Harvard University Press (2016), was also award-winning. His current book is the bestselling short story collection The Refugees from Grove Press (2017). Many of his articles, which have appeared in numerous journals and books, can be downloaded here. Nguyen is a MacArthur Fellow (2018-2022), and he has also received residencies, fellowships, scholarships and grants from various foundations, programs, and libraries, including the Luce Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council, and more. In his spare time, he co-directs the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, edits diaCRITICS, a blog on Vietnamese and diasporic Vietnamese arts and culture, and writes for Time, The Guardian, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times, where he is a contributing opinion writer. His next book is the edited anthology The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives (Abrams, 2018).