A Vietnamese-American sociologist has recently won the ‘best dissertation’ award for this year, as presented by the American Sociological Association.
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Dr Kimberly Kay Hoang, a 28-year-old Postdoctoral Fellow at Rice University in Texas, was granted the award for her PhD dissertation on sex work in Vietnam, which is based on 22 months of fieldwork between 2006 and 2010 in Ho Chi Minh City.
Her paper looks at the stratification of the sex industry in HCMC, which is illegal and caters to foreign and local men.
To write her winning thesis, titled New Economies of Sex and Intimacy in Vietnam, Dr Hoang worked as a hostess and bartender in four different bars that catered to wealthy local Vietnamese and Asian businessmen, overseas Vietnamese men, Western businessmen, and Western budget travelers.
Dr Kimberly Kay Hoang
Dr Hoang earned her PhD from the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley in 2011 after receiving an MA from the Department of Sociology at Stanford University in 2006. One year earlier, she graduated summa cum laude from the Communication and Asian American Studies Departments at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
She will join the Sociology Faculty of Boston College in Massachusetts next year.
The award will be handed out to Dr Hoang at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in August in Denver, Colorado.
Dr Alice Goffman, a sociology lecturer at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, garnered the award last year.
An interview with Dr Kimberly Kay Hoang
“Most people assume that women engaging in the sex industry are kidnapped, forced, or coerced into sex work. However, few studies have been able to furnish empirical evidence to support these claims.
When I began this project, I too was looking for trafficked victims and was surprised by the hundreds of conversations that I had with women who entered into the sex industry willingly.”