Phung Minh Hieu
Phùng Minh Hiếu

Field of Study

Years of Stay at HYI

Sep 2010 to Jun 2013

University Affiliation (Current)

Hieu Phung is an Assistant Professor of Asian studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and an environmental historian who investigates the impacts of local culture and statecraft on the preindustrial environment, especially on water and climate. Her research focuses on the history of Vietnam and Southeast Asia during the transition from the Medieval Climate Anomaly (c. 800/950–1250/1300) to the Little Ice Age (c. 1300–1850). In pursuing environmental history, she engages with the study of space, maps, and texts that reveal the construction of premodern geographic knowledge.

Current Research Projects: I’m currently working on a book project entitled “Heavenly Drought: Natural Anomalies and State-Building in Fifteenth-Century Vietnam.” The book examines local perceptions of natural disasters and environmental changes and how they connect both to the Vietnamese state’s responses, such as agricultural expansion and dike construction, as well as how they relate to the history of the Asian Monsoon.

Recent Publications

“Naming the Red River—Becoming a Vietnamese River.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 51, no. 4 (2020): 518-537.

“Case Study: The Red River Dikes in Northern Vietnam.” The Cultural Heritages of Water in the Tropical and Sub-tropical Eastern and Southern Eastern Asia. A Thematic Study by ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites, an advisory body to UNESCO for World Heritage), 2022.

“Meteorology in Vietnam, Pre 1850,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia Climate Science (2022)

“Before the River Network: The Visualization of the Red River System in Vietnam, 1300-1700,” Water and Culture in Eurasian History, volume 2, edited by Nicholas Breyfogle & Philip Brown, University of Pittsburgh Press (Under Contract).

Interested in becoming a Harvard-Yenching Institute fellow or scholar?

Learn More