Phung N. Su

Email: pnsu@berkeley.edu

Address: 410 Social Sciences Building

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley Website 

Teacher. Researcher. Fiction Fanatic.



Greetings! I'm Phung (pronounced like "fung"), a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. 

As a researcher, I am interested in understanding how individuals make choices within drastic moments of cultural, political, and economic constraints. My previous work on Vietnamese women during the Vietnam Revolution attests to this desire to understand the meanings and narratives crafted by the oft-forgotten women of war. Similarly, my current project, "Women Who Leave and the Men They Leave Behind: The Gendering of Migration and Mobility" explores Vietnamese migration in Asia to uncover the interplay between economic and cultural transformation and individual’s mobility strategies, lived experiences, and subjectivities.

The same interests that motivate me to delve into the stories of the people I study also accompany me in my role as an educator. Knowing first-hand that the path to entering and succeeding in higher education is not guaranteed, I approach teaching and mentorship with a goal to magnify rather than excise the rough corners of our lived experiences. In doing so, I orient my pedagogy towards the celebration, and not the flattening out, of differences and diversity. 




University of California, Berkeley 

                     Ph.D Candidate, Sociology

                     M.A., Sociology

​California State University, Fullerton​

                     M.A., History


University of California, Los Angeles

                    B.A, History - Summa Cum Laude


Gender, Race, and Sexuality

Globalization and Transnationalism

International and Internal Migration

Vietnam, Asia, Transpacific Relations 


  • University of California Dissertation Year Fellowship 

  • Mentor Research Award

  • John Simpson Fellowship - Institute of International Studies 

  • Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship

  • Chancellor's Fellowship 


The ability to travel to other countries has cemented my fascination with life narratives and individuals’ location against a backdrop of changing times and trends. In my travels, I witnessed first hand the symbolic currency that is attached to one’s ability to speak fluent English in Singapore. I danced to popular South Korean songs in Seoul, songs that for more than two decades have enabled South Korea to export its popular culture overseas. I also squatted alongside Vietnamese village folks in Vinh Long, peeling durian and sharing in conversation about the role of food as both a cultural marker and a passport to new communities of people and histories.


Traversing different cultural lines at home and across many national borders means that I have constantly been afforded the opportunity to form friendships that are not limited by geography, learn to value different and sometimes conflicting worldviews, and trade tales of loss that speaks to a shared human experience. All of this I have come to hold dearly as a unique ability to stand at the convergence of various cultures and communities that transcend territorial boundaries.

As an ethnographic researcher and retainer of stories, I offer you, through my research projects, various vantages into the lived experiences of women and men whose lives illuminate the ceaseless interaction between conditional existences and individual strategies for survival.

For additional information, please see the C.V.