Skip to main content
Adjunct Associate Professor (Primary Appointment in Geography)
319A Hurston Hall
Office Hours: W 1:00-3:00pm
(919) 843-7359
Personal Website

Curriculum Vitae


B.A. summa cum laude, Cornell University, 1997
M.E.Sc., Yale University, 2001
M.S., Cornell University, 2004
Ph.D., Cornell Univesity, 2011

Research Interests

Professor Lentz studies the political, social, and environmental history of modern Vietnam and Indonesia. More particularly, he writes about nationalism, statemaking, and territory after World War II when anti-colonial movements contested European empire and transformed ruling relations in its wake. Trained in Southeast Asian history, development sociology, and environmental science, his interdisciplinary approach grounds archival materials in their generative context. In 2017, he was a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton. In 2021, the Association for Asian Studies awarded Contested Territory the Harry J. Benda Prize for outstanding first book on Southeast Asia in any discipline.

Recent Public Engagements

  • Co-Director, “Contested Territory: America’s Involvement in Vietnam, 1945-75,” a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for K-12 Educators (2022).
  • Interview with Duncan McCargo about Contested Territory on New Books Network (2021).
  • #AsiaNow Speaks with Christian C. Lentz (2021).
  • Some Notable Publications

  • Contested Territory: Điện Biên Phủ and the Making of Northwest Vietnam. Yale Agrarian Studies Series (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019).
  • “Frontier Making and Erasing: Histories of Infrastructure Development in Vietnam,” in Frontier Assemblages: The Emergent Politics of Resource Frontiers in Asia, Jason Cons and Michael Eilenberg, eds. Antipode Book Series (Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2019), pp. 213-228.
  • “Cultivating subjects: Opium and rule in postcolonial Vietnam.” Modern Asian Studies vol. 51, no. 4 (2017): 879-918.
  • “Encountering everyday perspectives on the American War.” Geopolitics vol. 20, no. 4 (2015): 753-756.
  • “The king yields to the village? A micropolitics of statemaking in Northwest Vietnam.” Political Geography vol. 39 (March, 2014): 1-10.
  • Courses Offered

  • GEOG 64—First Year Seminar: Vietnam
  • GEOG 121—Geographies of Globalization
  • GEOG 232—Agriculture, Food, and Society
  • GEOG 266—Society and Environment in Southeast Asia
  • GEOG 392—Research Methods in Geography
  • GEOG 804—Graduate Seminar in Agrarian Studies
  • GEOG 804—Graduate Seminar on State, Territory, and Society