Personal profile


Dr. Angie Ngọc Trần was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, from which she escaped by boat at seventeen, settling in southern California. After her undergraduate years at CSU Long Beach, she obtained a master’s degree in developmental economics and then a doctorate in political economy at the University of Southern California. She joined the CSU Monterey Bay faculty, where she has been teaching for over 26 years and counting! An activist scholar, she has researched and published on transnational labor migration and resistance in Vietnam, Malaysia, the US and Mexico, aiming toward future comparative studies on global labor migration patterns.
Her research interests and publications include critical perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), impacts of multi-stakeholder negotiations on labor-management-state relations in Vietnam, the complex role of labor newspapers in Vietnam, and implications of international trade agreements on labor unions and workers. Her 2022 book, Ethnic Dissent and Empowerment: Economic Migration between Vietnam and Malaysia, integrates ethnicity, class, gender, religion, cultural resources, and third space of dissent and empowerment of five different ethnic groups in Vietnam: the Kinh, Hoa, Chăm Muslims, Khmer and Hrê, while working as guestworkers in Malaysia and after they return and resume their lives in Vietnam.
During Covid-19, she published articles that exposed the vulnerabilities and the recruitment system that exploit the Vietnamese female domestic workers in Saudi Arabia and their forms of resistance where they worked and after they returned to Vietnam.A recently awarded grant from the Russell Sage Foundation to fund an expansion of her co-authored study with Dr. Lorenzo Covarrubias entitled “H-2A Mexican Agricultural Guestworkers: Navigating opportunities and risks in California and improving quality of life in Mexico” will allow them to travel to Mexico to gain a more comprehensive picture of the motivations and aspirations of both the migrant workers (back to their hometowns/villages) and their families, the use of remittances, the recruitment and training processes for H-2A farmguestworker visas, and the risks/opportunities they faced while working in California. The pilot study focused on the impacts of a modern-day guestworker program on the living and working conditions of agricultural workers (mostly ethnic groups from Mexico), who toil in the fields under the heat to harvest our foods on a short-term contractual basis and return to Mexico.
She brings her life experiences and her research findings into her classroom through courses in history of economic thought, global economics, labor-based service learning, global migrant workers, critical perspectives on CSR, research methodologies, and the US in Vietnam and Asia-Pacific among others.
She is active in in local social justice movements such as organizing and speaking at the April 24, 2021 rally opposing hatred against Asians, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in Monterey, founding the Monterey County’s Coalition for Asian Justice, and participating in the Black Lives Matter movement and the Seaside Village Project. She is also active in her union, the California Faculty Association, and in contributing to Diverse Perspectives, a publication of CSUMB-Office of Inclusive Excellence and Sustainability. She continues to support transnational social justice causes.


  • Labor and Employment Law
  • Political Economy
  • Asian Studies