Keynote Address

Mimi Thi Nguyen, Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Mimi Thi NguyMimi Thi Nguyen is Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her scholarship brings together questions of race, gender, resistance, aesthetics and capitalism.

Publications and Projects

Her first book, called The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages, focuses on the promise of “giving” freedom concurrent and contingent with waging war. She develops a new understanding of American empire and how it produces new subjects and actions, such as the grateful refugee or enduring war.

Her following project is called The Promise of Beauty. Here she examines the role of beauty and how it appeals or appears to appeal to observers and pushes them to want to protect and extent the life of the beautiful and what intuitions and institutions facilitate the promise of beauty alongside occasions of violence.

Other Work and Awards

She is also co-editor with Fiona I.B. Ngo and Mariam Lam of a special issue of positions on Southeast Asian American Studies and co-editor with Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu of Alien Encounters: Pop Culture in Asian America. She has published in Signs, Camera Obscura, Women & Performance, positions, Artforum, The Funambulist, and Radical History Review. Nguyen was named a Conrad Humanities Scholar in 2013, a designation supporting the work of outstanding associate professors in the humanities within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois. She was named a John and Grace A. Nicholson Scholar in 2017, a designation supporting excellence in philosophical inquiry, also at the University of Illinois.

Nguyen has made zines since 1991, including Slander (formerly known by other titles) and the compilation zine Race Riot. She is a former Punk Planet columnist and Maximumrocknrollvolunteer. She is also co-author of the retired research blog on dress and beauty threadbared.