Nathalie Nguyen

Assoc Professor

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects


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Personal profile


An award-winning researcher, Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen is a leading international scholar on the Vietnamese diaspora and the experiences of Vietnamese refugees. Her work focuses on memory, war and migration. She is an expert on oral history projects involving the Vietnamese community in Australia, and her work has led to the creation of 2 key new oral history collections at the National Library of Australia.

Nathalie has won $1.65M as Chief Investigator of research projects.

She held 4 fellowships in 2005-15: 2 prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) fellowships back-to-back including an ARC Future Fellowship (2011-15) to work on Vietnamese veterans and an ARC Australian Research Fellowship (2005-10) to work on Vietnamese women of the diaspora; a 2011 Visiting Fellowship at Oxford University; and a 2007 Harold White Fellowship at the National Library of Australia.

Her latest grants are an ARC Discovery Project on the refugee legacy for second generation Vietnamese in Australia (2018-21) and $50,000 from the Australian Vietnamese Women's Association to work on "Pathways to Prevention: Vietnamese Offenders in Victoria" (2020).

From December 2011 to December 2017, she was based at the National Centre for Australian Studies (NCAS) at Monash, first as an ARC Future Fellow and Associate Professor, as NCAS Research Coordinator (2014-15) then as Deputy Director and Acting Director of NCAS (2016), and Director of NCAS (2017).

After the closure of NCAS in December 2017, Nathalie joined the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies (SOPHIS) in 2018.

She is a graduate of the Universities of Melbourne and Oxford. On completing a B.A.(Hons) at Melbourne University, she was awarded the Dwight Final Examination Prize and the Professor Alan Rowland Chisholm Memorial Prize before winning a Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Award to Oxford University, where she obtained her doctorate. At Oxford, she conducted pioneering research on Vietnamese Francophone literature.

Nathalie is the author of 4 books, three of which have been translated into other languages, and editor of 3 publications.

Her fourth book South Vietnamese Soldiers: Memories of the Vietnam War and After (Praeger, 2016) breaks new ground by shedding light on an essentially unexplored aspect of the Vietnam War: the histories of the men – and women – who served in the former Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces. It had 6 launches worldwide in 2016-17, including Boston College on 29 September 2016, the University of California, Berkeley, on 18 October 2016, and the Australian Defence Force Academy on 7 March 2017.

Her third book Memory Is Another Country: Women of the Vietnamese Diaspora, 2010 Choice Outstanding Academic Title, was translated into French and published in Paris in 2013, her second book Voyage of Hope: Vietnamese Australian Women’s Narratives was shortlisted for the 2007 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, and her first book Vietnamese Voices: Gender and Cultural Identity in the Vietnamese Francophone Novel was nominated for 4 international awards including the Kiriyama Prize.

Her 3 publications as editor are: New Perceptions of the Vietnam War: Essays on the War, the South Vietnamese Experience, the Diaspora and the Continuing Impact (McFarland, 2015); and Special Issues of the refereed journals Intersections (2009) and Crossroads (2008).

Nathalie's essays in the Canadian Journal of Law and Society (Cambridge University Press) and the Journal of Intercultural Studies (Taylor & Francis) won the 2015 Mander Jones Award for the "Best publication that uses, features or interprets Australian archives," and 2014 Journal of Intercultural Studies Editors Choice Collection respectively.

Nathalie was commissioned by Dorothea Schaefter, Senior Editor, Asian Studies, Routledge, to edit the Routledge Handbook of the Vietnamese Diaspora (Routledge, 2022).

Her submissions to Senate Select Committees on Issues facing diaspora communities in Australia and on Strengthening Multiculturalism were published on the Australian Parliament website in 2020 and 2017.

“Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen has made a major contribution not only to the history of the Vietnam War but also to the history of wars and their aftermath.” Peter Edwards, Official Historian of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-1975

In a powerful and eloquent book, Nguyen rewrites the South Vietnamese back into their own history and gives them back their voices. This is an important and overdue treatment of the missing dimension of the Vietnam War.” Jeffrey Grey, Professor of History, UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy

Book Review in Australian Outlook (Australian Institute of International Affairs)

Book Review in The Strategist (Australian Strategic Policy Institute)

"[An] outstanding book... The South Vietnamese military - which lost a quarter of a million men killed in action and nearly 1 million seriously wounded - has largely been ignored, forgotten or dismissed as irrelevant. This excellent and much-needed book, however, gives voices to those unknown soldiers of the Vietnam War, and constitutes an important and necessary addition to the burgeoning scholarship of the war." - Vietnam Magazine

"Nguyen's remarkable achievement is her ability to allow the veterans to speak for themselves in this groundbreaking study from that tragic conflict. Summing Up:★★★★ Essential. All levels/libraries." - Choice

"Nguyen's book is a welcome and important contribution to the study of the Vietnam War, the South Vietnamese state and society, and the post-1975 Vietnamese diaspora. It is also a fine example of the use of personal testimony to explore the complex and ongoing interplay between history and memory." - Australian Historical Studies

"[A] very important contribution to our understanding of the ARVN and its soldiers. South Vietnamese Soldiers explores the battlefield experiences of multigenerational combat veterans and military doctors. ...Nguyen's book breaks ground with its broader societal focus, especially in its inclusion of the children of ARVN veterans." - The Journal of Southeast Asian Studies

"There is much to commend about this well researched book. It offers a rich and at times heart-wrenching reconstruction of the experiences of combatants whose efforts have been written out of national history by an authoritarian regime and are rarely acknowledged... This book is a valuable addition to the historiography of the Vietnam War." - History Australia

"Nguyen uses oral histories to reveal a key facet of the Vietnam War in a way that challenges U.S.-centric narratives... This work certainly helps to fill a gaping hole in the Vietnam War's historiography while better balancing recognition of who fought." - The Journal of Military History

"This book does what oral history enables one to do: it adds to the historical record the experiences and perspectives of groups of people who might otherwise have been hidden from history... South Vietnamese Soldiers thus provides new and valuable first-hand accounts by South Vietnamese soldiers about their service during the war and their lives in its aftermath." - Oral History Review

Link to

Link to Q&A

Link to ABC Radio National The Book Club

Research area keywords

  • Vietnamese diaspora, Vietnamese refugees, Vietnamese women, Vietnamese veterans, Second generation, Vietnamese personnel in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Vietnam War, Memory, Oral History, Narrative, Trauma, Refugee Studies, Human Rights, Military History, Women in the Military, Women and War, Political Prisoners
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