Kevin Li is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Modern Vietnamese Studies and Lecturer in History. He completed his PhD in History at UC Berkeley, with a dissertation titled “Entrepreneurs of Disorder: Gangsters, Revolutionaries, and Collaborators during the Decolonization of Vietnam (1945-1955).” It focuses on the emergence of an armed group called the Bình Xuyên—organized by erstwhile outlaws—that came to play a key role on both sides of the First Indochina War. In narrating the group’s rise and fall, Li examines the dynamics of revolution, counterrevolution, and state-formation. Li’s research has received support from the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence at Yale, as well as the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.
At Columbia, he will teach a seminar on modern Vietnam and another on the history of outlawry. Prior to UC Berkeley, he received his MA in East Asian Studies at Yale and a BA in History at UC Irvine.