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Imaging Vietnam


The Imaging Vietnam Global Seminar has been canceled for summer 2024.

Faculty Leader

Hoang Tan Nguyen

Hoang Tan Nguyen playing mahjongNguyễn Tân Hoàng is an Associate Professor of Literature and Cultural Studies and also affiliated faculty in the Department of Ethnic Studies and Critical Gender Studies Program. His research interests include Asian American visual culture, Southeast Asian cinema, queer cinema, experimental film, race and pornography, film programming, and video production. Proessor Nguyen was born in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City’s prior name) just before its fall, and his family escaped as refugees in 1979. Since the mid-2000s, he has been doing research on Vietnamese film, government censorship, and transnational connections in the post-socialist era. He holds a B.A. in Art and Art History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, an M.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine, and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric, with an emphasis in Film Studies, from the University of California, Berkeley.


Why you should go

In the popular US imagination, Vietnam conjures up images of war, devastation, and violence. “Imaging Vietnam” focuses on representations of Vietnam in mainstream American media, alternative perspectives from Vietnam itself and its diaspora, and uses the tools of film analysis and production to create new narratives. The global seminar will be conducted in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC or Saigon), the vibrant megapolis of Vietnam. This location provides the ideal setting to investigate Vietnamese film, government censorship, and transnational connections in the post-socialist era. Thus, we will move beyond the conflation of the country with war and trauma. More crucially, the seminar seeks to account for the transformation of Vietnam as a modern nation-state marked by dramatic economic development and an artistic renaissance. The goal, therefore, is to learn film analysis and production by examining Saigon’s mediascapes, with all of its complexities and contradictions in the twenty-first century. Thus, this seminar offers students a new, dynamic perspective of Vietnam and its imaging.

Who should go

“Imaging Vietnam” is particularly suited for students interested in learning film analysis and introductory training in video production. The seminar also benefits students concerned about ethnic minority representation in the US, Asian American film history, and Vietnamese diasporic and transnational cinema. Vietnam, of course, is exceptionally desirable for heritage students. The professor was born in Vietnam, came to the US as a refugee, and has returned many times, developing a network of local filmmakers, artists, and other cultural producers.

The seminar culminates in the production of a video essay that can be distributed to parents (who likely will fund some of the participation in this seminar), friends, and potentially online. Enviably, the final project creates a sharable exercise rather than a paper that will only be read by the professor. The seminar is applicable to course requirements in Literature; DEI (approval pending); Asian American, Critical Gender, and Film Studies; and Muir, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Eighth College general education requirements and can be petitioned to count as credit towards Ethnic Studies. Most of all, participation in this global seminar will be both enlightening and fun. 

Information Sessions

  • Canceled: Thursday, Nov. 30, 5:00 - 6:30 pm
  • Register here for the live Zoom link, and/or to get the post-session recording.
  • Information session presentation (pdf)

See the Info Session Calendar


Departure from U.S.: Sat., June 29, 2024
Arrival: Sun., June 30, 2024
Mandatory Orientation: Mon., July 1, 2024
First Day of Class: Mon., July 1, 2024
Last Day of Class: Fri., August 2, 2024
Departure for the U.S.
(or personal travel):
Sat., August 3, 2024

Flight Information

  • You will be responsible for purchasing your own airplane tickets, and your program coordinator will provide guidelines and resources during the pre-departure process to help you find an appropriate flight.
  • Do not purchase plane tickets until the program is confirmed. All approved applicants will be notified by e-mail when the program has reached minimum enrollment.

Global Seminar Fees

All fees subject to change. See for current tuition and campus-based fees.

  UCSD Other UC Non-UC
Program Cost:
(includes $500 administrative fee)
Estimated Tuition and Campus-Based Fees:
$2,507.96 $2,557.96 $3,311.96
(not including airfare or personal expenses)

Budget Sheet

  • 2024 Ho Chi Minh City budget sheet (pdf) - coming soon

Funding Options

See the funding options page to learn how financial aid and scholarships can help you pay for this program.

Local Site Visits

  • Guided walking tour of Ho Chi Minh City:
    Start the city tour with a visit to the historic former Presidential Palace. This landmark gained its place in history as the first North Vietnamese tanks passed by, signifying the end of the Vietnam War. Then visit the colonial-era Post Office, featuring classic Gothic, Renaissance, and French colonial designs. Finally, drive to visit Ngoc Hoang pagoda.
  • Gallery Quynh Contemporary Art: Recognized as Vietnam's leading contemporary art gallery.
  • Quang San Art Museum
  • Artist’s Studio: Dinh Q. Le
  • Weekly class fieldtrips to watch Vietnamese films in multiplex theaters
  • Dogma Collection: A privately-owned, not-for-profit propaganda art collection
  • MOT+++: MoT+++ is an independent, artist-run space
  • War Remnants Museum
  • Nguyen Art Foundation
  • Southern Women’s Museum: This museum is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of Vietnamese women.
  • Artist’s Studio: Tuan Andrew Nguyen
  • Ho Chi Minh City Museum: Also known as Gia Long Palace, the museum used to be the Palace of Governor of Cochina and then the office of the imperial delegate of the King.
  • Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts
  • Sàn Art: This is a non-profit, independent, artist-initiated project.
  • Vin Gallery: Vin Gallery focuses on artists who have a flair for the experimental and conceptual.
  • Museum of Vietnamese History
  • Artist’s Studio: Bui Cong Khanh

Mekong Delta Boat Tour

  • The Mekong Delta is a rich fertile region of farmland interlaced with countless waterways and immense coconut gardens. The drive will take you to Cai Be town in the heart of the Mekong Delta where you will have a glimpse of the river lifestyle and culture.
  • Historical house visit
  • Traditional handicrafts
  • Walk through village's back roads
  • Lunch featuring local specialties
  • Cai Rang Floating Market and cruise
  • Muong Dinh Canal bike tour

Excursions are subject to change without prior notice. No refunds are possible.


  • Single room in an air conditioned hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, double hotel room during Meking Delta boat tour.
  • Food for sale at HCMC hotel.
  • Wi-Fi included in rooms and common areas
  • Housing arrangements are subject to change based on local circumstances without prior notice. No price adjustments are possible.

Included Meals

  • Welcome dinner upon arrival
  • Farewell dinner at end of program

Classroom and Computer Access

  • Classroom space at hotel
  • There is no computer lab available - plan to bring a laptop.
  • Wireless access may be intermittent due to local conditions. No refunds or price adjustments are possible.


  • Transportation by private bus to and from Tan Son Nhat International Airport to the student housing is included in the program. One pick-up and drop-off time will be arranged based on the most common flight arrival times.
  • Coach transportation for all excursions that are not in walking distance


  • Information about how to obtain a local SIM card will be provided at the pre-departure orientation.
  • Students will be responsible to purchase their own calling time/minutes.

Insurance, Health, and Safety

  • Comprehensive insurance package provided by on-site partner
  • An in-depth orientation will be given on the morning after arrival, including health and safety procedures.
  • Program partner staff will be available by telephone after hours.
  • All students will be registered for UC travel insurance This is free coverage, but registration is required prior to departure.