Trinh Minh-ha

Distinguished Professor

Gender and Women's Studies

PhD, Illinois

Image of Trinh Minh-ha


7317 Dwinelle, 630 Barrows

Research Interests

Postcolonial Theory
Film Theory and (De)Aesthetics
French Cinema, Third Cinema and Avant-Garde Cinema
Documentary, Ideology and Film
Film and Video Production
Feminist Theory
Social, Art and Literary Theory
Continental Philosophy, 
Eastern Philosophy
Music Composition, Ethnomusicology, Cultural Anthropology
Visual Culture and Cultural Politics
African Studies

Born in Vietnam, Trinh T. Minh-ha is a filmmaker, writer and music composer. Her works include: eight films Forgetting Vietnam (90 mins, 2015) • Night Passage (98mins narrative, 2004) • The Fourth Dimension (87 min Digital Video, 2001), • A Tale of Love (108 mins, 1995), an experimental narrative, • Shoot for the Contents (102 mins, 1991), a film on culture, art and politics in China, • Surname Viet Given Name Nam (108 mins, 1989), a film on identity and culture through the struggle of Vietnamese women, • Naked Spaces – Living is Round (135 mins, 1985), and • Reassemblage (40 mins, 1982); twelve books, including Lovecidal. Walking with The Disappeared (2016), D-Passage. The Digital Way (2013), Elsewhere Within Here (Immigration, Refugeeism and The Boundary Event, 2010); The Digital Film Event (2005), Cinema Interval (1999), Framer Framed (on film, 1992), When the Moon Waxes Red, (on representation, gender and cultural politics, 1991), Woman, Native, Other (on post-coloniality and feminism, 1989), En minuscules (poems, 1987), and in coll. with Jean-Paul Bourdier, A World in Dwelling (2011), Habiter un monde (Paris, 2005), Drawn from African Dwelling (1996), African Spaces – Designs for Living in Upper Volta (1985); and four large-scale multi-media installations, • Nothing But Ways (in coll. with L M Kirby, 1999, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco), • The Desert is Watching (in coll. with Jean-Paul Bourdier, 2003, Kyoto Art Biennale), • L’Autre marche (The Other Walk) June 2006 until 2009 at the new Musée du Quai Branly in Paris (France, also in coll. with J-P Bourdier), and • Old Land New Waters that was commissioned for the opening of the Okinawa Fine Arts Museum in November 2007; exhibited anew in 2009 and was also showing at the Guangzhou Art Triennial in China (Sept 6 to Nov 16, 2008).

The recipient of numerous awards and grants (including the 2014 Wild Dreamer Lifetime Achievement Award from the Subversive Festival in Zagreb, Croatia; the 2012 Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award; the “Trailblazers” Award at MIPDOC, Cannes; AFI National Independent Filmmaker Maya Deren Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Film Institute, The Japan Foundation, and the California Arts Council), her films have been given over fifty two retrospectives in Argentina, Croatia, Columbia, Mexico, Finland, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Korea, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovenia, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, the UK, the US, and were exhibited at the international contemporary art exhibition Documenta 11 (2002) in Germany. They have shown widely in the States, in Canada, Senegal, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as in Europe and Asia (including in Italy, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Japan, India, Taiwan, Jerusalem. Reassemblage was initially exhibited at The New York Film Festival (1983) and had toured the country with the Asian American Film Festival among numerous other festivals. Naked Spaces received the Blue Ribbon Award for Best Experimental Feature at the American Int’l. Film Festival and the Golden Athena Award for Best Feature Documentary at the Athens International Film Festival in 1986; it toured nationally and internationally with the 1987 Biennial of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Surname Viet Given Name Nam has received the Merit Award from the Bombay International Film Festival, the Film as Art Award from the Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art (SF Museum of Modern Art) and the Blue Ribbon Award at the American Film and Video Festival. Shoot for the Contents won the Jury’s Best Cinematography Award at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival and the Best Feature Documentary Award at the Athens International Film Festival, and toured internationally with the 1993 Biennale of the Whitney Museum. A Tale of Love showed internationally in over twenty-four film festivals, including Berlin and Toronto. The Fourth Dimension (Locarno, Viennale, Edinburg, London) and Night Passage continue to exhibit widely (UK, Austria, Spain, Japan, Korea, Shanghai).

Trinh Minh-ha has traveled and lectured extensively—in the States, as well as in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand—on film, art, feminism, and cultural politics. She taught at the National Conservatory of Music in Dakar, Senegal (1977-80); at universities such as Cornell, San Francisco State, Smith, and Harvard, Ochanomizu (Tokyo), Ritsumeikan (Kyoto), Dongguk (Seoul); and is a Distinguished Professor of the Graduate School in the departments of Gender & Women’s Studies and of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley.

See CV below for more details on creative works and publications.

Film Retrospectives

Anthology Film Archives, New York, Dec 6-22, 2019
Cinemateke, Stockholm, Sweden, Nov 24 – Dec 15, 2019
The Punto de Vista Film Festival in Pamplona, Spain, March 3-9, 2018
The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London, UK, Dec 2-8, 2017
Fondation maison des sciences de l’homme (FMSH) & Foundation Gulbenkian, Paris, France, March 3-11, 2017
Caixa Cultural, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Oct 20-Nov 1, 2015
CineMigrante International Film Festival, Film and Education in Human Rights of Migrants, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sept. 15 – 20, 2015
Beer voor Beer Festival de cine Documnental, Bogota, Columbia, Aug 12-16, 2014
Tranzitdisplay (Contemporray Gallery) Prague, Czech Republic Nov 2014 – Feb 2015 Subversive Film Festival, Zagreb, Croatia, May 7-17, 2014
15th Flying Broom Int. Women’s Film Festival, Ankara, Turkey, May 10-13, 2012
The Arsenal Institut für Film und Videokunst, Berlin, Germany, June 1-10, 2012
Ambulante Gira de Documentales Film Festival in 12 different cities (Mexico City, Metepec-Toluca, Cuernavaca, Leon, Puebla, Mrelia, San Cristobal, Oaxaca, Monterrey, Tijuana, Xalapa, Guadalajara, Mexico, Feb 11 – May 6, 2011
Film Center & Club Third Space, The Old Distillery, Turku, Finland Oct 15 – 22, 2011 
Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Ansan City, Gyeonggi-Do, Korea, Oct 22 – Nov 27, 2010
Mostra Audiovisual Fazendo Genero, Auditorio da Fundacao Cultural BADESC, Centro Florianopolis, Brazil, August 20-22, 2010
Mumbai International Film Festival, Mumbai, India. Feb 3-9, 2010
De Balie, Amsterdam, Netherlands, April 2009
Jeu de Paume Museum (Galerie Nationale de l’Image), Paris, France, October 23-November 9, 2008,
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, February 28-March 2, 2008
I-GONG, Alternative Visual Culture Factory, Seoul, Korea, May 17-30, 2007
Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan June 4 – 8, 2007 (NS, SV, SC, TOL, FD, NP)
Tate Modern, London, UK, February 10-12; 17-19, 2006
O Cinema Que Pensa II event & Rio de Janeiro Int’l Film Festival, Brazil, October 1-4, 2005, (Survey, 4 films)
Community Art Forum, Multimedijalni Centar, Zagreb, Croatia, June 15-18, 2005 (Survey 4 films)
Busan Art Biennale 2004, Busan, Korea, Aug 21-Oct 31, 2004 (Survey, 4 films)
Maritime Museum, Perth-Fremantle, Australia, Feb 27-28, 2004
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia at Madrid, Spain, Jan 2004
MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art) Barcelona, Spain, Oct 30-Dec 18, 2003
Cinema Project, Portland, Oregon, Nov 6-Dec 2003
Kyoto Art Biennale, Kyoto, Japan Oct 3-Nov 3, 2003
Documenta 11, Kassel Germany, June 8-Sept 15, 2002 (main exhibition & screening of 4 films)
Secession, Vienna, Austria, March 8-Aprill 22, 2001
Fine Arts Theater, Berkeley, California, April 7-27, 2000
Pan-Cultural Film Festival, Houston, Texas, Feb 10-13, 2000
International Film Festival, Ljubljana, Slovenia Nov 5-19, 1999 (Special Tribute)
The Japan Foundation Forum, Tokyo, Japan, April 17-19, May 1999 (not present)
Image Forum, Tokyo, Japan, July 15-19, 1998
Feminale Women’s Film Festival, Koln, Germany Oct. 2-6, 1996 (Special Tribute)
Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan, Sept 2-Oct 27, 1996
Frauenkino Xenia, Zurich, Switzerland, April 4-May2, 1996
Hong Kong Arts Centre, Wanchai, Hong Kong, August 10-17, 1995
Filmhaus, Vienna, Austria, June 14-18, 1995
Shedhalle, Zurich, Switzerland, June 10-13, 1995
Filmmuseum & Kunstverein Muenchen, Munich, Germany, June 5-9, 1995
Kino fsk, Berlin, Germany, June 3-7, 1995
American Center, Paris, France, June 1-3, 1995
Colgate University, Hamilton NY, October 11-26, 1994
Eldorado, Centrum Voor Beeldcultuur, Antwerpen, October 8-21, 1993
The Banff Center, Calgari, Canada, October 5-17, 1993
Institute of Contemporary Art, London, UK, November 22-24, 1992
San Francisco Cinematheque, October 24-26, 1991
Cornell Cinema, Ithaca, New York, February-March, 1991
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, May 3-5, 1990
Film Studies Association of Canada, May 14-18,1990
Athens International Film Festival, April 26-May 4, 1990
Sheldon Film Theater, Lincoln, Nebraska, Nov 3-4, 1989
Rainbow Film Festival, Portland, Oregon, May 7-9, 1989

Installations, Videos and Photo Exhibitions

Old Land New Waters, Installation. Prefecture Museum and Museum of Fine Arts of Okinawa, Japan. 2007 & Guangdong Museum, China. 2008.

L’Autre marche (The Other Walk), Installation. Musée du Quai Branly (Paris, France)., 2006 – 2009.

Bodies of the Desert, Digital Video. Gallery Blu (Santa Clara, CA), 2005.

The Desert is Watching, Photo and Video Installation. Kyoto Art Center, Japan, October 3 – November 30, 2003.

Nothing But Ways, Large-scale Multimedia Installation. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, June 4 – August 15, 1999.

Photo-montage. Enlarged stills from Shoot for the Contents with photographic design by Jean-Paul Bourdier; “Post-Colonial California” Exhibition at San Francisco State University, February 27-March 23, 1995.



See CV below for more details on creative works and publications.



“Où le réel affleure/Where Does the Real Comes In?” in Qu’est-ce que le réel? Des cinéastes prennent position/ What Is Real? Filmmakers Weigh In, ed. Andrea Picard, Post-éditions, Cinéma du Réel, Paris, 2018.

“The Image, The Blank Page and The Void,” in Japanese, trans. Fukuko Kobayashi, Gendai Shi Techo (Journal of Contemporary Poetry, Tokyo), Vol 5, 2017. 108-115.

“March Eleven: ‘What If…’,” Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas, Vol 2, 2016. 353-358.

“Olho mecânico, ouvido electrônico, e a atraçao da autenticidade,” (“Mechanical Eye,, Electronic Ear, and the Lure of Authenticity,” trans. into Portuguese), in A Imagem na Experiencia Etnografia, ed. Sylvia Caiuby Novaes et al. Sao Paolo, Brazil : Terceiro Nome, 2016. 29-35.

“The Image and The Void,” The Journal of Visual Culture, Vol 15 (1), 2016. 131-140.

“Conversation with Allison Rowley,” Moving Image, ed. Omar Kholeif, London & Cambridge: Whitechapel Gallery and The MIT Press, 2015. 174-75.

“La differenza: una questione special per le donne del ‘Terzo Mondo” in Italian, Feminismi queer postcoloniali. Critiche transnazionali all’omofobia, all’islamofobia e all’omonazionalismo, eds. Paola Bachetta & Laura Fantone (Verona, Italy: Ombre corte, 2015), 37-62.

“Not you/ Like You: Post-Colonial Women and the Interlocking Questions of Identity and Difference,” in Portuguese, AGRESTE magazine (Brazil), 2015.

“March Eleven: What if…,” in Japanese, Preface to the Japanese edition of Elsewhere Within Here, trans. Fukuko Kobayashi, Tokyo: Heibonsha Ltd., 2014.

“Don’t Stop in The Dark,” in Italian, Politiche della memoria, eds. Elisabetta Galasso & Marco Scotini (Rome, Italy: DeriveApprodi, 2014) 155-162.

“Featured Artist: Trinh T. Minh-ha. ‘Don’t Stop in the Dark’; ‘Surname Viet Given Name Nam’; ‘Old Land New Waters’,” in Chinese, Modern Art (Taipei Fine Arts Museum), No 174, 2014, 72-93.

“Inapproriate Artificiality” Interview with Marina Grzinic, in Croatian, 7th Subversive Film Festival, Zagreb, Croatia, 2014, 49-53.

“Zotročující touha po smyslu,” (“The Totalizing Quest of Meaning”) in Czech, DOK revue (Prague), No.2, 2014.

“Ne Ti/Kao Ti: Postkolonijalne zene I medusobno povezana pitanja identiteta I razlike,” in Croatian, Up & Underground. Critical Theory Dossier (Zagreb, Croatia), guest ed. Zarco Paic, Nos 25/26, 2014, 216-219.

“For Love of Another,” poem in Summer Grasses: An Anthology of War poetry, ed. David Krieger (Santa Barbara: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, 2014).

“The Forms of Politics: Multi-, Inter-, Post- and Trans: Where the Road Is Alive,” in French, English and Italian, Mousse. Contemporary Art Magazine (Milan, Italy), Issue 39, Summer 2013, 260-265.

“The Forms of Politics: Multi-, Post- and Trans: Là où le chemin est vivant,” in French and English, text for book of images, Scattering of the Fragile, Cherry Blossoms, eds An Van Dienderen &Lisa Spilliaert, Ghent, Belgium: AraMER, 2013. 63-79.

“Documentary Is/Not a Name,” Documentary, ed. Julian Stallabass, London & Cambridge: Whitechapel Gallery and The MIT Press, 2013. 68-77.


“Forgetting Vietnam – Trinh T. Minh-ha with Lucie Kim-Chi Mercier,” Radical Philosophy (UK), December 2018.

“‘There is No Such Thing as Documentary’: An Interview with Trinh T. Minh-ha,” Frieze Magazine (UK), November 2018.

“Con una cámara lo que hacemos es recordar y olvidar a la vez,” Diarro de Navarra (Spain), March 7, 2018.

“Trinh T. Minh-ha in Conversation,” Ocula, March 2, 2018.

“Trinh T. Minh-ha: Gedanken aus dem Zwischenraum,” Der Standard (Germany), July 16, 2017.


Awards (Selection)

  • Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, CCA California College of Arts, 2007
  • Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, Oberlin College, 1990.
  • Toban Faculty Fellowship, UC Berkeley Arts & Humanities, Mellon Foundation & Toban Family, 2016.
  • Wild Dreamer Lifetime Achievement Award, Subversive Festival, Zagreb, Croatia, 2014.
  • Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award, 2012.
  • Critics Choice Book Award of the American Educational Studies Association (AESA) for the book Elsewhere Within Here, 2012.
  • Trailblazers Award, MIPDOC, Cannes International Documentary Film Event, France, 2006
  • CAA, Annual Achievement Award from the Committee on Women in the Arts, College Art Association, 2006.
  • Maya Deren National Independent Filmmaker Award, American Film Institute, 1991
  • Jury’s Best Cinematography Award, Sundance Film Festival, 1992 (for the film Shoot for the Contents)
  • Best Experimental Feature Documentary, Athens International Film Festival. 1992