Shawn McHale focuses on the comparative study of colonialism, violence, and modern Southeast Asian history, with a particular interest in Vietnam. His latest book is The First Vietnam War: Violence, Sovereignty, and the Fracture of the South, 1945-56 (Cambridge University Press, 2021), a deeply researched study of the violent end of French colonialism in southern Vietnam. He has also written on the rise of a Vietnamese print culture, 1920-1945. He is currently researching and writing a book on Vietnamese engagements with Theravada Buddhism, 1930-1990. He is the recipient of Fulbright-Hays and ACLS/ Robert H.N. Ho fellowships.