Christina Schwenkel – USA

Schwenkel, Christina UCR Portaits

  • Associate Professor
  • Ph.D. 2004 University of California Irvine
  • Office: 1327 Watkins Hall
  • E-mail:
  • Professor Schwenkel’s research focuses on transnationalism, historical memory, aesthetics and visual culture in Vietnam. In her first project, she conducted multisited ethnographic fieldwork in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on transnational practices of memory, representations of war and suffering, and the politics of postwar reconciliation at museums, war monuments, art and photography exhibits, and tourist sites. She has written on Vietnamese war photographers, competing notions of torture and human rights, and sites of trauma tourism. Her book, The American War in Contemporary Vietnam: Transnational Remembrance and Representation (Indiana University Press 2009), looks at encounters between conflicting U.S. and Vietnamese recollections and representations of the war, and attempts to define and maintain particular visions of historical truth, knowledge and objectivity.
  • Professor Schwenkel’s current work examines the legacies of socialist humanitarian practices and transnational mobilities between Vietnam and former East Germany, in particular, Vietnamese contract labor programs in German factories and East German architectural/urban planning projects in Vietnam. In 2010-2011, Professor Schwenkel conducted historical and ethnographic research in Vinh City, Vietnam on postwar socialist urbanization and postsocialist/neoliberal urban renewal. Funded by Fulbright-Hays, ACLS, and the UC Pacific Rim Research Program, Schwenkel traced shifts in the aesthetic, cultural and affective meanings and value of East German-built public housing, from its postwar construction as a model socialist community to its privatization and impending demolition under new forms of urban governance and new market economic initiatives.


  1. Rethinking Asian Mobilities: Socialist Migration and Postsocialist Repatriation of Vietnamese Contract Workers in East Germany.” Critical Asian Studies, Vol. 46, no. 2 (2014): 235-258.
  2. Post/Socialist Affect: Ruination and Reconstruction of the Nation in Urban Vietnam.”Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 28, no. 2 (2013): 252-277.
  3. War Debris in Postwar Society: Managing Risk and Uncertainty in the Former DMZ.” InInteractions with a Violent Past: Reading Post-Conflict Landscapes in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Vatthana Pholsena and Oliver Tappe, eds. (Singapore: National University of Singapore Press, 2013). Pp. 135-156.
  4. The Ambivalence of Reconciliation in Contemporary Vietnamese Memoryscapes.” In Four Decades On: Vietnam, the United States, and the Legacies of the Second Indochina War. Scott Laderman and Edwin Martini, eds. (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2013). Pp. 103-131.
  5. Civilizing the City: Socialist Ruins and Urban Renewal in Central Vietnam.” positions: east asia cultures critique, Vol. 20, no. 2 (2012): 437-470.
  6. How is Neoliberalism Good to Think Vietnam? How Is Vietnam Good to Think Neoliberalism?” Guest Editors’ Introduction with Ann Marie Leshkowich. positions: east asia cultures critique 20(2): 379-401.
  7. Neoliberalism and Vietnam. Special issue of positions: east asia cultures critique, co-editor with Ann Marie Leshkowich, Vol. 20, no. 2 (2012).
  8. “Youth Culture and Fading Memories of War in Hanoi, Vietnam.” In Everyday Life in Southeast Asia. Kathleen M. Adams and Kathleen Gillogly, eds. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011). Pp. 127-136.
  9. “The Politics of Memory and Forgetting in Asia.” Suomen AntropologiJournal of the Finnish Anthropological Society , Vol. 4, no. 2 (2010): 77-83.
  10. The American War in Contemporary Vietnam: Transnational Remembrance and Representation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009).
  11. From John McCain to Abu Ghraib: Tortured Bodies and Historical Unaccountability of U.S. Empire in Vietnam.” American Anthropologist, Vol. 111, no. 1 (2009): 30-42.
  12. “‘The Camera Was My Weapon’: News Production and Representation of War in Vietnam.” InThe Anthropology of News and Journalism: Global Perspectives. S. Elizabeth Bird, ed. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009). Pp. 86-99.
  13. Exhibiting War, Reconciling Pasts: Journalistic Modes of Representation and Transnational Commemoration in Contemporary Vietnam.” Journal of Vietnamese Studies Vol. 3, no. 1 (2008): 36-77.
  14. Recombinant History: Transnational Practices of Memory and Knowledge Production in Contemporary Vietnam.” Cultural Anthropology
  15. Vol. 21, no. 1 (2006): 3-30.

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