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Alec G. Holcombe

Dr. Alec Holcombe, portrait
Associate Professor & Director of the Contemporary History Institute
Bentley Annex 405
Asian Studies

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  • Ph.D. in Southeast Asian History from the University of California, Berkeley

Research Interests

  • Southeast Asia; Modern Period
  • Vietnam
  • Colonialism; Socialist Reconstruction

Alec Holcombe is Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Director of the Contemporary History Institute. His research focuses on the history of Vietnamese Communism, a topic that intersects with a number of interesting broader themes. These include Southeast Asian-focused ones such as the region’s pre-colonial economic, political, and cultural legacies; Western conquest and colonization; the rise of nationalism; decolonization; and post-colonial nation building. These broader themes also include ones related to Marxism and Marxist-inspired movements: the intellectual origins and development of that ideology, the history of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, the Cold War, and, of course, Vietnam’s wars fought during the three decades after WWII.

He lives in Athens with his wife, Zieu, daughter, Asa, and son, Thomas.


  • “Stalin, the Moscow Show Trials, and Contesting Vietnamese Visions of Communism in the Late 1930s: A Reappraisal,” Communisme (Vendemiaire, 2013).
  • “The Complete Collection of Party Documents: Listening to the Party’s Official Internal Voice,” The Journal of Vietnamese Studies 5, no. 2 (Summer 2010).
  • (co-authored with Lại Nguyên n) “The Heart and Mind of the Poet Xuân Diệu,” The Journal of Vietnamese Studies 5, no. 2 (Summer 2010).


Alec Holcombe teaches a variety of courses related to Southeast Asia. His course include:

  • HIST 1320: Introduction to World History, Antiquity - 1750
  • HIST 3440: Vietnamese History
  • HIST 3451/5451: History of Southeast Asia 1750 to 1945
  • HIST 3452/5452: Southeast Asia from 1945 to the Present
  • HIST 4904/6904: Seminar on the Historiography of Southeast Asia