Matriculated September 2013
Dat Nguyen’s primary research deals with religions and politics in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on Buddhism in contemporary Viet Nam. He is interested in exploring the issue of religious governance by examining the relations between the state and Buddhist civil organizations. These include the Vietnamese Buddhist Association, the Buddhist Academy, the Buddhist Youth Organizations, as well as different Buddhist philanthropic organizations. In examining the issue of religious governance, Dat also hopes to explore the role of Buddhism as a system of ethics for the late-socialist society of Viet Nam.
Dat holds a B.A. in Cross-Cultural Relations and Religious Studies from Bard College at Simon’s Rock. For his B.A. thesis, he examined the state and religious cults of Ho Chi Minh in Viet Nam and Northeastern Thailand. In looking at memorial space and commemorative rituals dedicated to “Uncle Ho,” he argued that the cult of Ho Chi Minh is a contested field of knowledge, where political, cultural, and personal meanings are constantly negotiated.