Nhu Truong joins the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) as Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow for the 2020-2021 academic year. Her research focuses on authoritarian politics and the nature of communist and post-communist regimes, particularly pertaining to regime repressive-responsiveness, dynamics of social resistance, repertoires of social contention, and political legitimation. As a Shorenstein Fellow, Nhu Truong will develop her dissertation into a book manuscript. More specifically, she will buttress the theory by contrasting Cambodia with China and Vietnam, as well as exploring the variable outcomes and knock-on effects of authoritarian responsiveness as groundwork for her next comparative project.
Nhu Truong’s dissertation explains how and why the two most similar communist, authoritarian regimes of China and Vietnam differ in their responsiveness to mounting unrest caused by government land seizures. Authoritarian regimes manage social unrest not merely by relying on raw coercive power, but also by demonstrating responsiveness to social demands. Yet, not all authoritarian regimes are equally responsive to social pressures. Despite their many similarities, Vietnam has exhibited greater institutionalized responsiveness, whereas China has been relatively more reactive. Theory and empirical findings based on 16 months of fieldwork and in-depth comparative historical analysis of China and Vietnam illuminate the divergent institutional pathways and the nature of responsiveness to social pressures under communist and authoritarian rule.
Nhu Truong obtained her Ph.D. in comparative politics in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, with an area focus on China, Vietnam, and Southeast Asia. She received an MPA in International Policy and Management from New York University, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, an MA in Asian Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BA in International Studies from Kenyon College. Prior to embarking on her doctoral study, she had work experience in international development in Vietnam, Cambodia, and policy research on China.