The unimagined community – Q&A with Duy Lap Nguyen

Posted by Rebecca Mortimer - Wednesday, 27 Nov 2019


How would you like someone who has read your book to sum it up in one sentence?

This is the most significant book on the Vietnam War that has been written in a long time.

What book in your field has inspired you the most?

Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

Did your research take you to any unexpected places?

It led me to completely change my view of the nature of the war and the role of the South Vietnamese.

Which writing process do you use (computer, longhand, dictate, other)?


Why did you choose to publish with MUP?

Because its series on modern warfare and culture is a good match for the book, which is trying to be at once a work of original historical research, cultural criticism and critical theory.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a book on the influence of the Vietnamese Marxist philosopher Tran Duc Thảo on French philosophy (Derrida, Althusser and Foucault), and another book on the impact of automation on racial politics in America.

If you could go back and give yourself once piece of advice when starting out on this project, what would it be?   

I sincerely believe that the book is the book that it is only because of the all unforeseen problems I encountered while writing it, and so there is no advice I could have given myself.

If you could have been the author of any book, what would it be and why?

Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord because it is an important work of critical theory that is both rigorous and poetic, and because its brilliance defies academic convention and classification.

What other genres do you enjoy reading?

Anthropology, speculative fiction, philosophy

Which authors (academic and not) would you invite to a dinner party?

Philip K. Dick, Walter Benjamin, Ngo Dinh Nhu









The unimagined community is available to pre-order now! Duy Lap Nguyen is Assistant Professor at the University of Houston.


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