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Le Minh Khai's SEAsian History Blog

Always rethinking the Southeast Asian past

Islands and Change

I’ve spent my entire adult life on islands – 6 years on Taiwan and 23 years on Oahu (Hawaii) – and all of the professional knowledge that I have today was learned on those islands.

When I arrived on Taiwan in the summer of 1989, I only knew one word in Chinese – xiexie, “thank you” – and basically did not know anything about the history of any Asian society.

I’ve learned a lot since then, and I’ve also seen so much change since then.

Continue reading “Islands and Change”

Historians and Historical Scholarship in the Digital Age

About a week ago, historian Vũ Đức Liêm published an article in the online journal Tia Sáng on “‘Small,’ ‘Brief’ and ‘Narrow’ Histories or a Crisis of Historical Scholarship?” (Những lịch sử “nhỏ”, “ngắn”, “hẹp” hay khủng hoảng của sử học?).

In this article, Vũ Đức Liêm notes that we are living in a time when there are many people who feel that historical scholarship is facing a crisis as students do not seem to be interested in studying it, and historians have little prominence or influence in society. He examines this issue and suggests that there are types of historical scholarship that Vietnamese historians could produce that would be of more interest to the public.

 

Tia Sang Liem2

Continue reading “Historians and Historical Scholarship in the Digital Age”

Imagined Communities and an Imagined Southeast Asian Communitas

There are different types of knowledge that have been (and continue to be) produced about Southeast Asia, from area studies knowledge produced in places like North America, Australia and the UK, to nationalistic and ASEAN-focused scholarship produced in the region, to what I would call “academic knowledge” that is produced by scholars (mainly those studying/working in “the West” but who could be from anywhere) who focus on addressing issues in their respective academic disciplines rather than contributing to the understanding of a geographic area (as area studies and ASEAN-focused scholars do) or a nation (as nationalistic scholars do).

These different forms of knowledge exist in tension with each other, and this talk looks at ways to bridge the divides between these different ways of knowing Southeast Asia.

This is a talk that I gave for an event that I could not attend. I have edited out the parts at the beginning and the end that refer to the event, and am sharing the rest for anyone interested in this topic.

Minerva Schools, Baby Boomer Politics and the Decline of Area Studies

This is a discussion about how innovation in some sectors and the lack of innovation in others is transforming the academic landscape and contributing to the decline of area studies (cross-posting from Content Asian Studies).

Finding Confucianism in Vietnam (LMK Vlog #07)

Plenty has been written about Confucianism in Vietnam, but I find that the studies to date (particularly those in English) have generally not examined the types of texts that can really give us the clearest understanding of the role of Confucianism in the Vietnamese past.

In this video we look at one text that can do this. . . and we also talk about zombies and what can cause the universe to explode.

This History of Vietnam Will BLOW YOUR MIND (LMK Vlog #06)

I’ve long said that Christopher Goscha’s survey of Vietnamese history, Vietnam: A New History, will blow readers’ minds.

Well, here is video evidence of that:

New Mandala as Content Asian Studies

This video is an assessment of the New Mandala blog at ANU as an example of “Content Asian Studies.” For more on what I mean by “Content Asian Studies,” please visit this blog.

Spacing Out & Goscha’s History of Vietnam (LMK Vlog #05)

This video is about the importance of spacing out, and it also comments on Christopher Goscha’s “Vietnam: A New History.”

Watching Vietnamese Films in Chinese (LMK Vlog #04)

This vlog introduces and discusses a 1969 film from North Vietnam called “The Front is Calling” (Tiền Tuyến Gọi).

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