Isabelle Thuy Pelaud

Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, PhD

Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Ph.D.

Professor, Asian American Studies Department
Office: EP 426
Phone: (415) 338-7592

Faculty Biography

Dr. Pelaud is a pioneer in Vietnamese American literary studies. In her scholarship, she explores the dialectical relationship between the contexts of reception and cultural production. She examines how race and war shape identity, with an emphasis on gender.

She put theory into practice through the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network ( 

She makes her scholarship and activism relevant to students through the “DVAN@SFSU” Initiative ( and the administration of the Kieu Chinh Scholarship Endowment.

She also engages in creative writing.

She is the author of This Is All I Choose To Tell: History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature (Temple University Press, 2011) and of numerous academic essays. She co-edited Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora (Washington University Press, 2014). She is currently working on an anthology titled On Being a Writer: Diaspora in Dialogue composed of dialogues between diasporic Vietnamese writers, to shine light on the humanity, diversity and complexities of refugees and immigrants of color as a response to current anti-refugee and anti-immigrant sentiments in the U.S. and Europe, while making visible possible complex correlations between the historical and sociological context of a host country and the stories that are produced by minority writers. She is also working on a novel based on family stories titled My Mother’s Castle. Some of her creative works have been exhibited locally.

  • Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley, Ethnic Studies
  • B.A. University of California at Berkeley, Cultural Anthropology
  • 216 Introduction to Asian American Literature
  • 218 Asian American Culture        
  • 372 Vietnamese American Literature
  • 581 Asian American Women
  • 582 Asian American Women Literature and the Arts
  • 800 Theory and History in Asian American Studies
  • 822 Seminar: Asian American Literature and Arts


Cue Seed Grant, Cesar E. Chavez Institute


California Legislature Assembly Certificate of Recognition and SFHCMSC Award (on behalf of DVAN) in recognition of DVAN "promotion of performing and non-performing artists from around the world from the Vietnamese diaspora”.


Community-University Empowerment Fund, Cesar E. Chavez Institute


Instructional Related Activity Award


College of Ethnic Studies Matching Grant Award, Smithsonian Project

Vice President's Assigned Time Award


Rockefeller Fellowship. “Culture, Art, Trauma, Survival, Development: Vietnamese Contexts”, The William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences 


SFSU Presidential Award for Professional Development

Certificate of Merit, San Francisco State University    

Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN), Founder and Executive Director

  • Faculty Advisor Hmong Student Association
  • AAS RTP Committee
  • DVAN@SFSU Director

In progress

  • My Mother’s Castle. A novel 
  • On Being a Writer: Vietnamese Diaspora in Dialogue, with co-editors Viet Thanh Nguyen and Lan Duong 


  • “DVAN in France”. The Critical Refugee Studies Collective (blog)


  • "Serve the People! Asian American Studies @ 50: Empowerment and Critical Community Service Learning at San Francisco State University." AAPI Nexus: Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Policy, Practice and Community (DVAN section with Philip Nguyen)  


  • “Vietnamese Literature in the Diaspora”. The Cambridge History of Asian American Literature, Cambridge University Press


  • “War, gender and race in le thi diem thuy’s The Gangster We Are All Looking For.” Themes in Contemporary North American Fiction. Bloomsbury Academic Press
  • Vietnamese American Literature and the Vietnam War.” Themes in Contemporary North American Fiction. Bloomsbury Academic Press
  • “Le Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN): Tisser un reseau autour de l’art dans la diaspora Vietnamienne” in Arts Du Vietnam: Nouvelles Approches, Presses Universitaires de Rennes


  • Troubling Borders: Anthology of Literature and Art by Southeast Asian Women in   the Diaspora, with co-editors Lan Duong, Mariam Lam and Kathy Nguyen, Washington University Press, 2014 (2014 Choice Outstanding Academic title, Bronze Book Award 2015 from the Association for Borderlands Studies). In paperback in Spring 2020
  • On the Subject of Telling: le thi diem thuy’s The Gangster We Are Looking For.” Yinxin And The Wuyi Xiaoxiang Society . Zhang Guoxiong, Zhao Hongying, Zeng Luling Eds., Zongguo Huaqiao Chubanshe, Beijing
  • AltarArt: Binh Danh and the Representation of the Cambodian Genocide.” Southeast Asian Diaspora in the United States: Memories & Visions, Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow. Cambridge Scholars Publishing


  • “Introduction to Vietnamese American Literature.” Vietnamese in America. Mai-Nhung Le ed., Cognella Academic Publishing
  • Review of "Cathy J. Schlund-Vials’ War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work”, Journal of Asian American Studie 
  • Review of "Lan Duong’s Treacherous subjects: Gender, culture, and trans-Vietnamese feminism”Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 2013


  • “Vietnamese American Art and Community Politics: An Engaged Feminist Perspective.” Essay co-authored with Lan Duong. Journal of Asian American Studies, Vol.15, No.3.
  • “Fiction and Nonfiction Review: Monique Truong’s Bitter in the Mouth, Andrew Lam’s East Eats West, and Linh Dinh’s Love Like Hate.” The Asian American Literary Review, Vol.3(1)


  • This is All I Choose to Tell: History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature, Temple University Press, 2011
  • “Stories From Beyond: A Recap of the Beyond the War Panel.” diaCRITICS


  • “Lan Cao’s Monkey Bridge.” Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife, Kathy Nadeau and Jonathan Lee, eds. ABC-CLIO, 2010


  • “Today and Tomorrow.” 40th Anniversary of Ethnic Studies. Asian American Studies Department publication, SF State University


  • Entering Linh Dinh’s Fake House:  Literature of Displacement.” Amerasia Journal, Asian American Studies Center, UCLA (Translated in Vietnamese and published in Theky21, October 2005)


  • “Difference in Truong Tran’s dust and conscience.” Michigan Quaterly Review: Viet Nam: Beyond the Frame, Ann Arbor, MI, Fall 2004


  • “A Longing for Return: The Emerging Vietnamese American Literature.” The New Face of Asian Pacific America: Numbers, Diversity & Change in the 21st Century, UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center Press
  • “Catfish and Mandala: Triple Vision.” Amerasia Journal, Asian American Studies Center, UCLA, Vol.26 No.1


  • “Metisse Blanche: Kim Lefevre and Transnational Space.” Mixed Race Literature (literary criticism), Stanford University Press, 2001


  • DVAN Djerassi Writing Retreat, Curator


  • “From My Mother I Inherited: A Group Poem.” Bomb Magazine (collective poem with SWHNM)
  • “Love/Object/Treason: Agroup Poem.” Ajar, Issie 5: Song Song Parallel (collective poem with SWHNM)


  • Toss. Art installation. Thoreau Center (Presidio). Exhibition presented by AAWAA


  •  “A Peace Both Delicious and Strange: EurAsian Women Teaching Asian American Studies,” with Wei Ming Dariotis. Sponsored by the Journal of Asian American Literary Review, Vol.4:2 
  • She who has no master, Director, Writer (a triptych of experimental shorts by three women about war, memory, and unwarranted masters). UnderCurrents & the Quest for Space. SOMArts Cultural Center. Exhibition presented by AAWAA and APICC    


  • Co-curator with Lan Duong. Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora. Exhibition. Riverside, CA: University of California, Jun-Oct.


  • letgo. Art Installation. A Place of her Own. SOMArts Cultural Center Main Gallery. Exhibition presented by AAWA, Apr-May


  • Without these Rocks. Art installation. Driftwood Gallery, SF. Exhibition presented the Asian American Women Artists Association (A Place of Her Own), September-November  (Without these Rocks was selected and showcased at the Southeast Asian American Art Exhibit, Spring 2011, Students Art Gallery, SF State University.)
  • “Eurasian.” The Perfume River: Writing from Vietnam. The University of Western Australia


  • “In Between.” As Is: A Collection of Visual and Literary Works by Vietnamese American Artists, The Vietnamese Artists Collective


  • “Morning Light.” Of Vietnam: Identities in Dialogue, Palgrave


  • “Christmas ’95.” Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing, New Rivers Press


  • “Three Women and a Master.” Making More Waves: An Anthology of Writings by and about Asian American Women, Beacon Press


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