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Think Forum: Viet Thanh Nguyen (2019)

Presented as the 2019 F. Joseph Callahan Distinguished Lecture


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Jennifer Starkey
Kelvin Smith Library 201-F

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The Kelvin Smith Library provides the campus community with access to world-class research collections, technology-equipped classrooms and meeting spaces, state-of-the-art digital resources and even a café. In support of the “Think Forum Lecture Series,” the library offers a selection of resources accessible in this “Research Guide.”

This guide was prepared for the Think Forum Lecture Series by Viet Thanh Nguyen, University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California, on Thursday April 11, 2019 at 6 PM. The topic being explored by Dr. Nguyen is “Refugee Stories and American Greatness."

This Kelvin Smith Library Research Guide offers a variety of information below, plus more on these additional pages:


Viet Thanh Nguyen headshot

Viet Thanh Nguyen is a University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. 

He was born in Ban Me Thuot, Viet Nam. He came to the United States as a refugee in 1975 with his family and was initially settled in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. His family later moved to San Jose, California.  After high school, he briefly attended UC Riverside and UCLA before settling on UC Berkeley, where he graduated with degrees in English and ethnic studies in 1992. He obtained his Ph.D. in English from Berkeley in 1997, moved to Los Angeles for a teaching position at the University of Southern California, and has been there ever since.

Professor Nguyen's novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He is also the author of Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (Harvard University Press, 2016), which was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction.In his current book The Refugees (Grove Press, 2017), a short story collection, he continues his exploration of the tensions, traumas and conflicting loyalties that endure far beyond a war’s end. 

Professor Nguyen is a critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. His articles have appeared in numerous journals and books. He has received many teaching and service awards, and has been a 2017 recipient of  the MacArthur Foundation fellowship.  

Professor Nguyen is actively involved with promoting the arts and culture of Vietnamese in the diaspora through the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) and DVAN’s blog diaCRITICS.

Think Forum Related Guides

These guides were created to support the previous Town Hall series and the current Think Forum Lecture Series. They are listed in the order of newest first.

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