Isabelle Thuy Pelaud

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Isabelle Thuy Pelaud (1965) is a critic of Vietnamese American literature as well as an author of essays and short stories. She was born in Tours, France and lives in San Francisco.
Isabelle Thuy Pelaud.jpg

She is Associate Professor in Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, where she has served as Co-Director of the Vietnamese American Studies Center.

Her literary criticism concerns her own generation of Vietnamese American writers in English. Breaking "laws of origin": resistance, hurt, and containment in post-1994 Vietnamese American literature, her 2001 doctoral dissertation in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, discusses the work of Andrew X. Pham, Lan Cao, and Linh Dinh. In Summer 2009, she had recently completed a book manuscript.

An arts activist in the Bay Area, she was member of the group Muc va Mau (Ink and Blood), and serves as an advisor to the Association for Viet Arts. In 2008, with friends, she founded and now serves as co-director of DVAN with Viet Le.

In January 2011, Pelaud released the first book devoted to Vietnamese American literature, this is all I choose to tell: History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature (Temple University Press.)

Linh Dinh started this entry. Julie Thi Underhill updated it.

Isabelle Thuy Pelaud in print and online


  • this is all I choose to tell: History and Hybridity in Vietnamese American Literature (Temple University Press, 2011)


  • Breaking "laws of origin": resistance, hurt, and containment in post-1994 Vietnamese American literature. (University of California, Berkeley, 2001)

Articles and debate

  • “A Response to Peter Zinoman keynote address delivered at the conference: 30 Years Beyond the War: Vietnamese, Southeast Asian and Asian/American Studies”, Social Identities, forthcoming
  • “Entering Linh Dinh’s Fake House: Literature of Displacement”, Amerasia Journal, Summer 2005 (37-49). Translated into Vietnamese and published in Theky21, October 2005 (78-84). Original English and translation by Chan Phuong available at Da Mau
  • “Catfish and Mandala: Triple Vision”, Amerasia Journal, Vol.26 No.1, 2003 (221-235)
  • Difference in Truong Tran's dust and conscience from Michigan Quarterly Review, vol. XLIII, no. 4, Viet Nam: Beyond the Frame, pp. 720-727, Fall 2004. Translation in Vietnamese by Tran Duc Tai available at Da Mau
  • Metisse Blanche: Kim Lefevre and Transnational Space”, Mixed Race Literature, edited by Jonathan Brennan, Stanford University Press, 2001 (122-136)

Reviews and reportage

  • “Book Review: Sucheng Chan’s The Vietnamese American 1.5 Generation, in Nha Magazine, in press 2009
  • “Today and Tomorrow”, Asian American Studies Department publication on the 40th Anniversary of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University, 2009
  • “The Plight of Vietnamese American Students at SFSU”, Nha Magazine, July 2006
  • Truong Tran's Dust and Conscience, Nha Magazine, March, 2006
  • “Vietnamese American Women Writers”, Nha Magazine, Mar/Apr 2004 (134-5); essay also published online by Pacific News Service (June 2004) as *"Vietnamese American Women as Literary Torchbearers"
  • “A Longing for Return: The Emerging Vietnamese American Literature”, in The New Face of Asian Pacific America: Numbers, Diversity & Change in the 21stCentury, edited by Eric Lai and Dennis Arguelles, Asian American Studies Center Press, UCLA, 2003 (68-69)

Fiction and essays

  • “In Between”, in As Is: A Collection of Visual and Literary Works by Vietnamese American Artists, The Vietnamese Artists Collective, 2006
  • “Morning Light”, Of Vietnam: Identities in Dialogue, edited by Tina Ollier and Jane Winston, Palgrave, 2001 (237-239)
  • “Christmas ‘95”, Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing, edited by Shirley Geok-Lin and Cheng Lok Chua, New Rivers Press, 2000 (8-11)
  • "Three Women and a Master”, Making More Waves: An Anthology of Writings by and about Asian American Women, Elaine H. Kim and Lilia V.

Villanueva eds., Beacon Press, 1997 (72-82)