Events Calendar

Experiments in Skin: Thuy Linh Tu Book Talk

Thursday, March 10, 2022, 11:00am - 12:00pm


Experiments in Skin: Race and Beauty in the Shadows of Vietnam

Thuy Linh Tu

Professor of American Studies

Department of Social and Cultural Analysis

New York University

Book Talk

March 10, 11 AM – noon

RCHA Seminar Room (6051)

Academic Building-West Wing

15 Seminary Pl

Hybrid: In-person and virtual

Register for Zoom here

Graduate Students Meet & Greet Lunch

March 10, noon-1 PM

301 Van Dyck Hall

16 Seminary Pl

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to RSVP

Cold War Asias Working Group Capstone Event

Sponsored by Global Asias Initiative and Department of History

Thuy Linh Tu is Professor of American Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU, where she also serves as the faculty director of the Prison Education Program's Research Collective. She is the author of Experiments in Skin: Race and Beauty in the Shadows of Vietnam (Duke UP, 2021) and The Beautiful Generation: Asian Americans and the Cultural Economy of Fashion (Duke UP, 2011), and co-editor of the volumes, Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia, Alien Encounters: Popular Culture in Asian America, and Technicolor: Race and Technology in Everyday Life. Her current research project, "The Chinese in Indian Land," examines the "insourcing" of textile manufacturing from China to the U.S. south and the shifting meanings of race and region at the twilight of U.S. industrialization. 

In Experiments in Skin Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu examines the ongoing influence of the Vietnam War on contemporary ideas about race and beauty. Framing skin as the site around which these ideas have been formed, Tu foregrounds the histories of militarism in the production of US biomedical knowledge and commercial cosmetics. She uncovers the efforts of wartime scientists in the US Military Dermatology Research Program to alleviate the environmental and chemical risks to soldiers' skin. These dermatologists sought relief for white soldiers while denying that African American soldiers and Vietnamese civilians were also vulnerable to harm. Their experiments led to the development of pharmaceutical cosmetics, now used by women in Ho Chi Minh City to tend to their skin, and to grapple with the damage caused by the war's lingering toxicity. In showing how the US military laid the foundations for contemporary Vietnamese consumption of cosmetics and practices of beauty, Tu shows how the intersecting histories of militarism, biomedicine, race, and aesthetics become materially and metaphorically visible on skin.


Flyer: Thuy_Linh_Tu_Cold_War_Asias_Working_Group_March_10_2022.pdf