1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences


I consider teaching, advising and mentoring students in anthropology and linguistics to be central to my life. I particularly enjoy introducing students to new ideas and concepts and showing them the relevance of anthropological and linguistic ideas and approaches to other aspects of their lives. Perhaps this is a result of my own experience and training. Starting out as an archeology student at the University of Nebraska, I was quickly immersed in a four-fields approach to anthropology by an exciting teaching staff.

After receiving an M.A. in Romance Languages, I taught French Literature and Spanish for two years before starting doctoral work in Southeast Asian linguistics and anthropology at Cornell, where I did general anthropological studies in Southeast and East Asia and specialized in the traditional culture and society of Vietnam. With my interest in anthropology and in French literature I was intrigued by the conflicting views toward Westernization found in Vietnamese society and literature in the period of the 1920's and 1930's when French influence was being strongly debated in intellectual and political circles throughout Indo-China.

After living in Argentina for several months and doing fieldwork in Vietnam I came to the University of Virginia and started teaching in both Anthropology and the Linguistics program. Since then I have divided my time between the two and in the process become the Director of Programs in English as a Second Language, a position which combines my interest in teaching about culture and teaching about the nature of language itself.

A staunch believer in anthropology's broad, holistic approach, I have taken particular interest in teaching introductory courses such as "Anthropology 101" and "Language and Culture" where the interconnection of the knowledge and theoretical approaches of sub-disciplines can be explored. My research, however, centers on Vietnamese literature for non-Vietnamese readers. I am currently working on the translation of a Vietnamese novel which can be used as a means of teaching about Vietnamese cultural values and world view.

First Name: 
Lecturer, Emerita
Computing ID: 
Office Address: 

P.O. Box 400120


Ph.D. Cornell University 1971

Sub Discipline/s: 

Vietnamese social interaction, traditional Vietnamese culture and society, Vietnamese literature. Teaching English as a second or foreign language.