Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Boston University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2006
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of California / Los Angeles
Hy Sinh & Nghia: Sacrifice as Virtue in Vietnamese Family Life

The proposed dissertation project is a holistic ethnographic study of family life in Central Vietnam, exploring the Vietnamese cultural ideals of hy sinh (sacrifice) and nghia (virtue/duty/devotion) as everyday moral practices that organize individuals' social relationships and dispositions. Integrating the methods and perspectives of psycho-cultural and linguistic anthropology, I will examine at the personal, interactive level how household members of different generations and genders interpret, narrate, and experience a morality of sacrifice and duty across their life spans, and how this value is transmitted or altered across changing historical epochs and in light of transforming socio-economic conditions. In addition to augmenting the literature on Central Vietnam in particular and Southeast Asia in general, my research will contribute to wider issues in social science, including the socio-cultural patterning of sacrifice, individuals' experience of kinship relations; and the relation between narrative, self, and culture. Ultimately, the research aims to refine theoretical formulations of sacrifice, and to contribute to comparative studies of family and household life around the world.