Photograph courtesy of the UCI Libraries
Thuy Vo Dang came to the United States as a child. Her family is from Tra Vinh, Vietnam, part of the Mekong Delta region with vibrant ethnic Vietnamese and Khmer populations. It's also known as the "rice bowl" of the country. "Somewhere in the middle" of nine children, Thuy now has three children of her own and they ground her in the unending work of leaving a better world for the next generation. Thuy finds immense purpose in preserving the stories and amplifying the voices of those on the margins of history.
In October 2022, Thuy joined the faculty of UCLA's Information Studies Department. In this role, she trains future educators, curators, librarians, and archivists and advances her research on the Vietnamese diaspora and refugee archival praxis.
For nearly a decade, Thuy served as Curator for the UCI Libraries Southeast Asian Archive and research librarian for Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Thuy's work advances community-centered archives practice, a means and method of bringing social justice into the creation and stewardship of historical records for minoritized communities. She has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego and a B.A. in English and Asian American Studies from Scripps College. With research and teaching expertise in archival studies, oral history, Southeast Asian diaspora, Asian American communities, Thuy brings an interdisciplinary and grounded approach to building out digital humanities and archival documentation projects in collaboration with educators and community-based organizations.
Thuy's work shows her commitment to collaboration and community-building. A few of her major projects include co-authoring the books, Vietnamese in Orange County and A People’s Guide to Orange County, an alternative history and tour guide of Orange County that documents sites of oppression, resistance, and transformation.
Recognized by OC Weekly as “The Studs Terkel of Little Saigon” in 2013, Thuy has since continued to provide consultation and training on oral history to diverse groups in academia and beyond. In 2020, she worked with a team in the UCI Libraries to develop an Oral History Toolkit, a free resource that empowers community members to document their own stories.
A longtime advocate for the arts, Thuy serves on the board of directors for Arts Orange County and the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association, both based in Orange County, California. With great humility and perseverance, she is learning to play the piano. Outside of the arts and academic contexts, Thuy loves riding her Vespa around town, hiking and eating.
Areas of Research and Teaching
Archival studies, community archives, cultural memory, oral history, Southeast Asian diaspora, refugee studies, ethnography, Vietnamese American community, Orange County, California history
Curator for the Southeast Asian Archive & Research Librarian for Asian American Studies, University of California, Irvine (2013-2022)
Postdoctoral Fellow & Project Director, Vietnamese American Oral History Project, UC Irvine Department of Asian American Studies (2011-2013)
Institute of American Cultures Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA Asian American Studies Center (2009-2010)
Lecturer: UC Irvine Department of Asian American Studies (2010); UCLA Department of Asian American Studies (2009-2010); Loyola Marymount University American Cultures Studies (2010); UC San Diego Department of Ethnic Studies (2008-2009)
Ph.D. & M.A. Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego
B.A. Asian American Studies & English, Scripps College, Claremont, California