University at Albany

Women's Studies Faculty - Vivien W. Ng
Vivien Ng

Contact Information
Office: HU 355C Email:
Skype: prof.vng (email to set up session)

Vivien Ng has served two terms as department chair: 1995-2000 and 2011-2017. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights, University at Albany.

Ng was the first President of the National Women's Studies Association, serving in 1993-94. She has served on the board of the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation from 1989-93. She was a Mellon Fellow at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies in 1984-85 and a Rockefeller Fellow at Hunter College in 1990-91. She was on the editorial boards of the NWSA Journal and the Journal of Women's History.

Ng has served as curriculum consultant to several Women’s and Gender Studies programs in the United States. She has been an external reviewer and co-authored assessment reports on women’s and gender studies programs/departments at Hunter College, San Diego State University, University of Arizona, and University of Minnesota.

Her book, Madness in Late Imperial China: From Illness to Deviance (1990), tracks the paradigm shift of “madness” to “insanity” in Qing Dynasty China that resulted in mandatory confinement of the insane and harsher treatment of insane offenders. Although published in 1990, this book is still being used in comparative law courses in several law schools. Her other groundbreaking work includes "Ideology and Sexuality: Rape Laws in Qing China," which appeared in the Journal of Asian Studies in 1987 and "Homosexuality and the State in Late Imperial China," in Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Lesbian and Gay Past (New American Library, 1989). Her research and writing interests have undergone significant change since 1995, moving from Chinese social history to Asian American studies. Ng also writes short fiction. One of her stories, "Redemption," is published in 13th Moon, a feminist literary magazine.

From 2008 to 2014, Ng was the Associate Producer and Principal Researcher for “Trailblazers in Habits,” a film about the social justice work of the Maryknoll Sisters in China, Hong Kong, Latin America, and the United States. This film has been shown at film festivals and special events in Canada, Hong Kong, and the United States. A special edition was broadcast nationally in the United States on ABC network in 2014.

She is currently completing two documentaries: “On Her Own Terms: The Life and Work of Barbara Zuber,” about the first African American woman admitted to the Yale School of Art in 1949, and “Liminal State,” about her maternal grandfather, a Chinese American restaurateur and filmmaker. A VoiceThread introduction to this project is available at

Besides her film projects, she is also writing a biography of Sr. Elizabeth (Mary Mercy) Hirschboeck, a Maryknoll sister whose medical missionary work spans decades (1930s through 1980s) and countries (Bolivia, Korea, and the United States).