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Mimi Thi nguyen

Scholar & Writer

Author of The Gift of Freedom
and The Promise of Beauty







Books and Collections

Mimi Thi Nguyen, We Are the Ones We've Been Looking For (collected columns and zines).

Mimi Thi Nguyen, The Promise of Beauty. Duke University Press, 2024.

Patty Ahn, Michelle Cho, Vernadette Vicuna Gonzalez, Rani Neutill, Mimi Thi Nguyen, and Yutian Wong, eds. Bangtan Remixed: A Critical BTS Reader. Durham: Duke University Press, 2024.

Mimi Thi Nguyen, The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages. Duke University Press, 2012.


Fiona I.B. Ngô, Mimi Thi Nguyen, and Mariam B. Lâm, eds., “Southeast Asian American Studies” Special Issue. positions: asia critique 20.3, Summer 2012.


Mimi Thi Nguyen and Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu, eds., Alien Encounters: Popular Culture in Asian America. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.

Select Publications

Mimi Thi Nguyen, “The Eventfulness of Incomplete Presence, Or No One Turned Away for Lack of Future.” In Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists and Their Zines, eds. Drew Sawyer and Brandon Joseph, Phaidon and Brooklyn Museum, 2023.


Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Foreword.” In Fitting In, Sticking Out: Queer (In)visibilities and the Perils of Inclusion, ed. Scott Branson. Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2023.


Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Getting Over Ourselves.” In “Reckoning the Interdiscipline” special issue, Journal of Asian American Studies 25(2), 2022. 343-350.  


Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Zine.” In Keywords for Comics Studies, edited by Ramzi Fawaz, Shelley Streeby, and Deborah Whaley. New York: NYU Press, 2021. 223-228.


Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Experience.” In Keywords in Gender and Sexuality Studies, edited by Aren Aizura, Karma Chavez, Kyla Wazana Tompkins, Mishuana Goeman, Amber Musser, Shona Jackson, and Aimee Bahng. New York: NYU Press, 2021. 85-88.


Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Poster Child.” In Women & Performance 30(1), 2020. 100- 103.

Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Our Students Are Radical Because They Live in the Real World.” In Teaching Resistance: Radicals in the Classroom, edited by John Mink. San Francisco: PM Press, 2019. 185-189.


Mimi Thi Nguyen, “In Defense Of.” In The Funambulist 25, September-October 2019: 26-29.

Mimi Thi Nguyen, “The Government Might Not Love You, But I Do.” In ArtLeaks Gazette 5,  April 2019: 70-72. 

Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Dressed Down: The Politics of Hijab.” In ARTFORUM, Summer 2017.

Soo Ah Kwon and Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Non-Profits, NGOs, and ‘Community Engagement:’ Refiguring the Project of ‘Activism’ in Gender and Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies.” In “Incorporation and Excess: Politics In and Against Neoliberalism” Special Issue, edited by Soniya Mushi and Craig Willse. Scholar and Feminist 13:2 (Spring 2016).

Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Profiling Surfaces.” In The Funambulist Papers, Vol. 2, edited by Leopold Lambert. New York: Punctum Books, 2015. 8-13.

Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Minor Threats.”“Queering Archives” Special Issue, edited by Kevin Murphy, Daniel Marshall, Zeb Tortorici, Radical History Review 122 (May 2015): 11-24.

Mimi Thi Nguyen, “The Hoodie as Sign, Screen, Expectation, and Force.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 40:4 (Summer 2015): 791-816. Included in the Signs open-access virtual issue, “Feminist Resources for #TheResistance,” Summer 2017.


Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Diasporic Erotic: Love, Loss, and the Copy.” Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies 28:1 (May 2013): 68-101.

Mimi Thi Nguyen and Golnar S. Nikpour, Punk. New York: Guillotine Press, 2013 (Second printing 2014; third printing 2018).

Mimi Thi Nguyen and Golnar S. Nikpour (French trans. by Nathan Golshem), “Le punk est une cible mouvante.” In Demain Les Flammes No. 1, 2016. pp. 56-84.

Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Afterward.” In Punkademics: The Basement Show in the Ivory Tower, edited by Zack Furness. New York: Minor Compositions/Autonomedia, 2012. pp. 217-223.

Mimi Thi Nguyen, “Riot Grrrl, Race, and Revival.” “Punk Anteriors: Genealogy, Performance, Theory” Special Issue, edited by Beth Stinson and Fiona I.B.  Ngô, Women & Performance 22:2-3 (July-November 2012): 173-196.


Fiona I.B. Ngô, Mimi Thi Nguyen, and Mariam B. Lâm. “Guest Editors’ Introduction: Special Issue on Southeast Asian American Studies.” positions: asia critique 20:3 (Summer 2012): 671-684.


Mimi Thi Nguyen, “The Biopower of Beauty: Humanitarian Imperialisms and Global Feminisms in the War on Terror.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 26.2  (Winter 2011): 359-383.

Mimi Thi Nguyen, “'In the arms of Pirates, Under the bodies of Sailors:' Diaspora, Desire, and Danger in Nguyen Tan Hoang's PIRATED!” In Charlie Don't Surf: Four Vietnamese American Artists, ed. Viet Le, Centre A., Vancouver, 2005. pp. 66-75.



Mimi Thi Nguyen is Associate Professor and Chair of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her first book, called The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages, focuses on the promise of “giving” freedom concurrent and contingent with waging war (Duke University Press, 2012; Outstanding Book Award in Cultural Studies from the Association of Asian American Studies, 2014). She is also co-editor with Fiona I.B. Ngo and Mariam Lam of a special issue of positions: asia critique on Southeast Asian American Studies (20:3, Winter 2012), and co-editor with Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu of Alien Encounters: Pop Culture in Asian America (Duke University Press, 2007). Her papers have been solicited for the Feminist Theory Archive at Brown University. 


Her second book is called The Promise of Beauty, and she is part of an editorial collective with Patty Ahn, Michelle Cho, Vernadette Vicuna Gonzalez, Rani Neutill, and Yutian Wong for Bangtan Remixed: A Critical BTS Reader; both books are being published with Duke University Press in 2024. She has also published in SignsCamera ObscuraThe Funambulist, Women & PerformancepositionsRadical History Review, and ArtForum.


Nguyen has made zines since 1991, including Slander (formerly known by other titles) and the compilation zine Race Riot. She is a former Punk Planet columnist and Maximumrocknroll volunteer. She is also co-author of the retired research blog on dress and beauty threadbared. In June 2013, Sarah McCarry's Guillotine ("a series of erratically published chapbooks focused on revolutionary non-fiction") released PUNK, a conversation between Nguyen and Golnar Nikpour. Nguyen is working on a collection of columns and essays.

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