Laura Tran

Laura Tran

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

School of Social Sciences

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

Ngoc Lan Tran is a Doctor of Philosophy candidate at the Department of Asian Studies. Her thesis, 'Un/forgetting Agent Orange: Towards a Reimagining of Vietnamese Forests', examines the legacies of chemical warfare in the aftermath of the Vietnam War using postmaterial feminist theories and diffractive methodologies. Her work focuses on the politics of Agent Orange and the presence of spirituality and reverence for life and nature in the life stories of Vietnamese victims.

Besides her research, she is an HDR Representative for the Department, a longstanding member of Reading Feminisms, and the Secretary for the Australian Institute of International Affairs - South Australia Branch.

My PhD project attempts to answer the question "Why is Agent Orange a forgotten issue?" and seek ways to un/forget it. I ask this question with the careful consideration that this forgetting is not simply a wilful loss of memory but rather a complex framework of structures that enabled it. I unpack this structure in my PhD thesis by examining unchallenged discourses of Agent Orange, including war negotiations, scientific uncertainty, moral responsibility, legal liability and legal temporality. 

I use post/material feminist philosophy such as Karen Barad's diffractive methodology to untangle the multidisciplinary and multinational nature of the Agent Orange problem, allowing previously overlooked, marginalised, and forgotten stories of victims to come to light. Their stories of war, nature, pain, resilience, and spirituality... imbue critical lessons for our futures. Because their legacies will not be delegated as desecrated nature in the wake of war, but rather, they will be seen as hard-won lessons toward ecological justice.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2024 - ongoing Research Assistant University of Adelaide
    2022 - ongoing Secretary The Australian Institute of International Affairs, South Australia (AIIA SA)
    2021 - 2021 Research Assistant University of Adelaide
    2020 - ongoing Teaching Assistant University of Adelaide
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak and peer review
    Vietnamese Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2022 University of Adelaide Australia Doctor of Philosophy
    2020 - 2022 University of Adelaide Australia Master of Philosophy
    2017 - 2020 University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Social Sciences (major in Sociology)
  • Research Interests

I am a teaching assistant across a variety of Asia-related social science courses at the Department of Asian Studies, including: 

ASIA 1103 Asia & the World

ASIA 1104 Introduction to Asian Cultures

ASIA 2007 Asia: Cultures and Identities

ASIA 3007 Asia: Beyond Climate Change 


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