Anh Sy Huy Le

Year in Program: 4

Fields: East Asian History: Modern Vietnam and Modern China, the Indian Ocean in World History, Migration History (Ph.D. Examinations Passed with Distinction in all fields).

Advisor: Charles Keith

Committee: Aminda Smith, Laura Fair, Lewis 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


I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Modern East Asian History at MSU with particular emphasis on the urban, social, and economic history of colonial Vietnam and Sino-Vietnamese interactions. I have long been fascinated by the interlinked dynamics and tension between migration, colonial capitalism, and urbanization. My historical approach is informed by theories and debates in transnationalism, urban and colonial studies, global capitalism, and cosmopolitanism.

My dissertation, 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 characters.

In summer 2018, I will be a visiting research fellow at the Asia Research Institute (ARI) of the National University of Singapore. This brief stint of research and writing will be followed by an extensive 12-month field research (September 2018-August 2019) in Vietnam, Singapore, and China, which receives support from the Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) administered by the Social Science Research Council and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The pre-dissertation research at an earlier stage was funded by the American Council of Learned Societies/Henry Luce Foundation for China Studies, MSU International Studies Center, the Asian Studies Center, the College of Social Sciences, and the Department of History.

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: 

  • Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF), Social Science Research Council and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grant for Research in European, African, or Asian History, American Historical Association
  • 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

(For a full list of honors and awards, please refer to my curriculum vitae)


  • “The ‘Orientals’ Strike Back: Displacement, Diasporic Resistance, and Spatial Justice in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire,” Journal of Migration History 4(2018): Special Issue: Cities and Overseas Migration in the Long Nineteenth Century, 134-160.
  • Review of Micheline Lessard, Human Trafficking in Colonial Vietnam, New York: Routledge, 2015, Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Vol. 12, Issue 4, 106-110, 2017

Social Media: twitter,, researchgate

Personal Webpage: