Kevin Li

2021-22 Postdoctoral Fellow

Kevin Li completed his PhD in History at UC Berkeley in 2020. He specializes in the history of modern Vietnam with particular interest in nationalism, decolonization, state-formation, and civil war. His book manuscript, titled "Entrepreneurs of Disorder: Gangsters, Revolutionaries, and Collaborators during the Decolonization of Vietnam (1945-1955)," examines the rise of erstwhile outlaws as leading political and military figures in the decade following World War II. It focuses on the emergence of a powerful political-military force in southern Vietnam called the Bình Xuyên, which came to play a key role on both sides of the First Indochina War—first as part of the communist-led Vit Minh insurgency, then as an anticommunist bulwark against it. In narrating the group's rise and fall, he explains why and how a putatively criminal group came to assume the guise of the state and the mantle of nationalism. A chapter of his work was published in the Journal of Vietnamese Studies

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HB 6048


  • B.A. UC Irvine
  • M.A. Yale
  • Ph.D. UC Berkeley