Thank you for visiting this site. I have taught in the Great Books, History, and Humanities programs at Pepperdine University since Fall 2013, a few months after receiving my doctorate in history from University of Notre Dame. I am currently a tenured and associate professor of Great Books.
Born in Vietnam–my name is spelled Hoàng Anh Tuấn in Vietnamese–and educated there until twelve years old, I graduated from high school then a small liberal arts college in Minnesota where I majored in philosophy and enrolled in the Great Books honors program. Between undergraduate and graduate studies, I lived and worked for ten years in Seattle, mostly as a live-in assistant among adults with intellectual disabilities at the L’Arche Noah Sealth community. (I also worked as a caterer at the kitchen and cafeteria of Northwest Hospital.) I currently live in Orange County, whose Little Saigon has the largest population of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam.
Blog. I post on matters related to teaching, scholarship, current research, academia, plus interests such as music and food and occasional reflections on my personal history.
Why tuannyriver? In college, I lived in the seminary building on campus and worked in its kitchen. Washing dishes and pots and pans, however, fell to non-kitchen fellows who took turns on a weekly basis. Sometimes in my first year, one of the dishwashers, a junior, saw me nearby and spontaneously started singing Swanee River, a song by Stephen Foster from the 1850s and about the Suwanee River in the American South. It’s a charming song – here is a live and lively performance by Hugh Laurie, him of House fame – except that the junior sang it as, you guess it, Tuanny River.
It has stuck as a sobriquet of sorts, most conveniently as username for my email, Facebook, Twitter, old blog, and now this website. For his impromptu creation of this moniker–aren’t the best ones always created spontaneously?–I am forever indebted to Monsignor Mark Merdian of the Diocese of Peoria.