Kelly Nguyen

A photo of Kelly Nguyen

Assistant Professor

Fields of Interest: Classical Reception, Roman Social History, Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies, Histories of Empire, Postcolonial Theory, Queer of Color Critique, Critical Race Theory and Refugee Studies


Born in Vietnam and raised in Orange County’s Little Saigon, Kelly Nguyen is Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics and a member of the inaugural cohort of the UCLA Mellon Data/Social Justice Curriculum Initiative. She received her B.A. in Classics and in Archaeology from Stanford University in 2012, and after a few stints in the legal, nonprofit, and tech worlds, she returned to academia and completed her Ph.D. in Ancient History from Brown University in 2021. Dr. Nguyen was a University of California Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Rhetoric at UC – Berkeley, and most recently, an inaugural IDEAL Provostial Postdoctoral Fellow for studies in race and ethnicity at Stanford University.

Dr. Nguyen’s research and teaching engages classical studies in a comparative manner to explore histories of empires, forced displacement, and race and ethnicity in a global context. Her current book manuscript is the first major project to explore how Vietnamese intellectuals—both national and diasporic, from the French colonization era to contemporary times—have engaged with the Greco-Roman classical tradition in their fight for liberation. She has published on ethnic identity in the Roman world and on classical reception through the lenses of postcolonial theory, queer of color critique, critical race theory and critical refugee studies. In addition to her research, she is a co-founder of the Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus and served as the organization’s founding mentorship coordinator.