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Viet Trinh

Viet Trinh Headshot

Viet Trinh

Postdoctoral Scholar


386E University Hall
230 N. Oval Mall
Columbus, Ohio 43210

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Areas of Expertise

  • African American history, Asian American history, race and empire, urban studies, carceral studies, twentieth-century United States history


  • PhD, Yale University

V.N. Trinh is a postdoctoral scholar and incoming assistant professor of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University. Trinh’s manuscript-in-progress, tentatively titled Burning All Illusions: Race and Rebellion in the City of Angels, 1950-1992, covers Black and Korean Angelenos’ fights for justice and citizenship in an age of law-and-order policing. From the early Cold War to the Rodney King Riots, Southern California’s diverse communities had to navigate, resist, and reckon with a rising carceral state responsible for cruel, abusive policing in their neighborhoods. Many rejected the government’s draconian, heavy-handed solutions to social problems. Instead, they advanced a more democratic, more multi-faceted conception of public safety rooted in neighborhood diplomacy and a revitalized civic infrastructure. A bottom-up history, Burning All Illusions positions these marginalized people at the forefront of our conversations on race, urban policy, and the modern carceral state.

Tentatively titled Into the Belly of the Beast: Researchers, Radicals, and Refugees in Cold War California, Trinh’s other ongoing project details the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area’s transformation from a Cold War defense hub into a mecca of anti-war protest and a harbor for imperial subjects migrating to the metropole. In other words, it investigates the messy relationship between the Silicon Valley military-industrial complex, the rise of African American and Asian American opposition to the Viet Nam-U.S. War, and the eventual influx of Southeast Asian refugees to Northern California. Using a combination of archival research and oral history, the project weighs the numerous paradoxes and ironies of U.S. imperialism while anchoring its analysis in the particularities of a specific place.

Before moving to Columbus for Ohio State, Trinh taught at Earlham College, Lafayette College, Southern Connecticut State University, and Yale University. He received his PhD in History and two other graduate degrees from Yale, and his undergraduate degree in History from the University of California, Riverside. Trinh proudly hails from the Bay Area.

Please see the attached pdf Curriculum Vitae (CV) below.

trinh_cv_.pdf145.98 KB