Nguyen, Trian

Trian Nguyen

Associate Professor of Art and Visual Culture


Art and Visual Culture

Olin Arts Center, Room 314

Asian Studies


Trian Nguyen is an Associate Professor of Art and Visual Culture and the Luce Junior Professor of Asian Studies. He came to Bates in 2000 under the auspices of a grant from the Luce Foundation, and is the first faculty member to teach Asian art history at Bates. Nguyen holds a Ph.D. in Asian art history from the University of California at Berkeley, and obtained his Master of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School. Prior to coming to Bates, he taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Art Department.

Nguyen’s primary research work situates Buddhist art and architecture within the religious, political, and social conditions of Southeast Asian culture. He is also interested in Buddhist visual culture. He has traveled extensively for both his teaching and research in the countries of Southeast Asia and recently traveled the China’s ancient Silk Route to study Buddhist rock-cut temples. Nguyen’s research focuses on Vietnamese art. He is currently working on a book about Vietnamese portrait sculpture from the15th through the 19th centuries. Nguyen has authored several articles and essays, including an entry on the Vietnamese Buddhist monastery in the Encyclopedia of Monasticism, 2000.

While at Bates he has created an extensive slide collection of Asian art, taught several art history courses, and guided the expansion of the College’s library holdings regarding Asian art history. Nguyen’s teaching covers a wide range of courses in Asian art history, including: Buddhist visual worlds; the art of Zen Buddhism; visual narratives – storytelling in Asian art; monuments of Southeast Asia; rock-cut temples in Asia; a seminar on Buddhist architecture; and a short term (five week) course taught in China.