Anh Sy Huy Le

I am an historian in training of Modern East Asia at MSU with particular emphasis on the urban and socioeconomic history of colonial Vietnam. I have long been fascinated by the interlinked dynamics and tension between migration, colonial capitalism, and urbanization. My historical approach is also informed by theories and debates in transnationalism, urban and colonial studies, global capitalism, and cosmopolitanism.

My dissertation-in-progress, tentatively entitled Chinese Migration, Colonialism, and the Making of Cosmopolitan Saigon, 1862-1954 investigates the migrations, settlements, and evolution of the Chinese community in southern Vietnam and their roles in Saigon’s emergence as a prominent port city by the late nineteenth century. It is a social and economic history of Chinese migrants in southern Vietnam and at once an urban history of the colonial city and the global forces shaping its cosmopolitan character.

For the last two years, I have been on the organizational committee of the Migration Without Boundaries Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference on Migration at MSU–an academic initiative promoting new research in historical and contemporary migrations. The conference can be found on twitter @MSU_Migration

Departmental Activities: Vice President, Graduate History Association, 2016-2017; PR and Keynote Speaker Committee, Migration Without Boundaries Conference, 2015-2017.

Grants, Honors, and Awards: 

  • Henry Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies Program in China Studies Pre-Dissertation Research Fellowship
  • Walker Hill Pre-Dissertation International Research Fellowship, International Studies Center, Michigan State University
  • Corey/Thompson Endowed Research Fellowship, College of Social Sciences, Michigan State University
  • American Historical Association Council Annual Meeting Travel Grant
  • Percy Buchanan Best Paper in Southeast Asian History, Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs, Association for Asian Studies
  • Shao-Chang Lee Best Paper Award, Michigan State University, Asian Studies Center
  • Jeff Rooney Paper Prize for best paper written in a graduate seminar of the year, Department of History, Michigan State University
  • Vietnam Studies Group (VSG) Best Paper Prize, Vietnam Studies Group, Sub-Committee of the Southeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies
  • Dr. Kwan-Wai So Memorial Scholarship Fund in History
  • Richard H. and Hester V. Cox Fellowships, East West Center, the University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace, Middlebury College


  • “The ‘Orientals’ Strike Back: Displacement, Diasporic Resistance, and Spatial Justice in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire,” Accepted for publication and forthcoming in Journal of Migration History
  • Review of Micheline Lessard, Human Trafficking in Colonial Vietnam, New York: Routledge, 2015, Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Vol. 12, Issue 4, 106-110, 2017

Websites: twitter,, researchgate

Upland Southeast Asia

Year in Program: 3

Fields: East Asian History: Modern Vietnam and Modern China, the Indian Ocean in World History, Migration History

Advisor: Charles Keith

Committee: Aminda SmithLaura FairLewis Siegelbaum  

Research Languages: Vietnamese (Native), Chinese (Reading and Speaking), French (Reading)

Educational Background: B.A Economics & Chinese Studies, Wabash College, 2013. MA History, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, 2015.

CV: Anh Sy Huy Le CV

Email: Saigon (LE TOUR DU MONDE 7-10-1893)