DVAN@SFSU Initiative



DVAN@SFSU is a project of San Francisco State University’s College of Ethnic Studies sponsored by the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) at the Intersection for the Arts to advance mutual educational goals and the promotion of Vietnamese American diasporic literary arts and other cultural productions. To learn more about DVAN at Intersection for the Arts, please click here.



Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Director

Philip Nguyen, Assistant Director



DVAN was invited to launch DVAN@SFSU in Fall 2019 to enrich students' lives with educational materials and activities, scholarship and mentorship opportunities.

Pulitzer Prize winner comes to campus, celebrates new University milestone

A Statement from DVAN for Black Lives


We Believe in

  •  Solidarity with Indigenous, people of color, and those with a shared history of war and colonization is necessary
  • More important than giving “voice to the voiceless” is the abolition of all conditions of voicelessness
  • Dialogues and collaborations between diasporic Vietnamese writers/artists are important to our communities and to society at large.
  • Like all countries, Vietnam is a country--not a war.
  • Like all identities, diasporic Vietnamese identities are diverse, complex, and fluid.
  • Like all writers, Vietnamese writers in the diaspora have the right to express themselves on their own terms.
  • Narrative plenitude - a wide range of voices, perspectives, stylistic approaches and all types of stories (even those not having writing about explicitly “Vietnamese” or “diasporic” topics) - is vital and necessary in order to make evident the complexities within our communities.
  • In coming together as a group across national boundaries we have the potential to bring forth new ideas about identity and citizenship.


What We Do


I. Curriculum Development

The Asian American Studies department in the College of Ethnic Studies has the largest curriculum of Vietnamese American Studies and Southeast Asian American classes in the country. 


The following Asian American Studies courses use and/or generate DVAN materials in their curriculum:

AAS 212 Asian Americans and Mass Media 

AAS 370 Vietnamese in the United States

AAS 372 Vietnamese American Literature

AAS 373 Vietnamese American Identities

AAS 570 Southeast Asians in the United States.

AAS 822 Asian American Literature

AAS 588 Asian American Media Workshop


A . DVAN@SFSU Educational Resources:


A blog that showcases art, literature, and stories from writers, artists, and culture-makers of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora.


ACCENTED: Dialogues in Diaspora

A virtual series of programs hosted by Viet Thanh Nguyen that features Vietnamese and Southeast Asian cultural producers and scholars from the diaspora



  • Troubling Borders: Anthology of Literature and Art by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora, with co-editors Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Lan Duong, Mariam Lam and Kathy Nguyen, University of Washington Press, 2014 (Awards include 2014 Choice Outstanding Academic title, and Bronze Book Award 2015 from the Association for Borderlands Studies)

  • "Serve the People! Asian American Studies @ 50: Empowerment and Critical Community Service Learning at San Francisco State University." DVAN section co-authored by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud and Philip Nguyen. AAPI Nexus: Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Policy, Practice and Community, Fall 2018.

  • “Vietnamese American Art and Community Politics: An Engaged Feminist Perspective.” Lan Duong and Isabelle Thuy Pelaud. Journal of Asian American Studies, Vol.15, No.3. October 2012

  • « What is Vietnamese American literature? » in Looking Back on the Vietnam War, Rutgers University Press, 2016, by Viet Thanh Nguyen.


B. Students as Knowledge Producers


Ethnic Studies seek to empower students. DVAN supports this mission by creating opportunities for students to become knowledge producers.


Every semester, DVAN@SFSU accepts the most outstanding short video projects (3-5min) submitted by AAS faculty from the classes listed above and publishes them on diaCRITICS (between 1000-5000  viewers). Students have the choice between these two prompts for their videos:


  • “You Bring Out the Southeast Asian in Me”

Drawing inspiration from spoken word artist Bao Phi’s “You Bring Out the Vietnamese in Me,” students produce a creative short video that experiments with text, image and sound that conveys their understanding of sociohistorical issues by providing contextualizations for their racialization from a Southeast Asian American perspective. 


  • “ Literature, Poetry, Art” 

Students create an engaging video that features a diasporic Southeast Asian writer, poet, or artist. Interviews and/or promotion videos that artists can use for their portfolio are most encouraged.



II. Community Service 

The mission of Ethnic Studies is to make academic teaching relevant to the community. DVAN serves the college by:


A. Organizing events and activities:

  • Q-Call: Community Engagement

Event that showcases emerging Southeast Asian American talents from the community to present alongside established writers and cultural producers.  


  • Who Are We? Brown Bag Series

Brown bag series whereby guest speakers of their choice share stories and creative work.


  • Mapping the Diaspora

Develop a living, multi-use digital archive of Vietnamese diasporic production.  


An exhibit that showcases contemporary art and writing  planned for 2022 at SF State (for an on-campus gallery, with a virtual component for online audiences).


The exhibit explores the impact of April 30, 1975, the Fall of Saigon, on Vietnamese American artists of the new generation. These creative reflections toward personal struggles and memories demonstrate the effects of the Vietnam War on identity, family and community; and humanize the Vietnamese diasporic/refugee experience from the inside-out.



B. Internships:


DVAN@SFSU provides Internship opportunities to students through AAS 688 Community Service (3 units).

With these internships, students develop leadership and professional  skills (i.e: academic and grant research, organizing, communication design, cultural competencies, leadership). 


To this end, DVAN@SFSU collaborates with the following organizations and groups:

  • Community organizations:

-   Progressive Vietnamese American Organization (PIVOT)

-   Southeast Asian Development Center (SEADC)

-   Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC) 


  • Student Organizations on Campus and at Other Universities:

-   Vietnamese Student Association at San Francisco State University (SFSU VSA) 

-   The United Vietnamese Student Associations of Northern California (NorCal UVSA)

-   Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations (UNAVSA);



  • SFSU Campus Centers & Institutes:

-     Asian American and Pacific Islander Retention and Education (ASPIRE)

-   César E. Chávez Institute

-   Poetry Center


  • Other Universities:

-   University of California, Berkeley (Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies)

-   Hao Sen University (American Studies) (in progress)





DVAN@SFSU is supported by grants and donations from generous individuals who believe in our mission and value the impact of our work. 


Gifts to DVAN@SFSU are tax deductible, and are acknowledged by San Francisco State University.


To make an online donation to DVAN@SFSU, please go to http://give.sfsu.edu/dvan03.


To donate by check, please make it payable to “The University Corporation, San Francisco State” and note “DVAN@SFSU Donation” on the memo line. The mailing address is:


Office of University Development

San Francisco State University

1600 Holloway Avenue, ADM 153

San Francisco, CA 94132


If you have questions or if you are interested in making a gift of securities, charitable IRA rollovers, or other types of gifts, please contact Alex Sanchez at alexsan@sfsu.edu or (415) 338-1032.