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Le Minh Khai's SEAsian History Blog

Always rethinking the Southeast Asian past

Vietnamese History From A to Z (A YouTube Series)

Having spent the past couple of years experimenting with video production, the time has now come to start work on a major video project.

In the weeks, months, and perhaps years to come, I will be posting videos in a series that I am calling “Vietnamese History From A to Z.” The purpose of this will be to create a YouTube series of short videos that can serve as a video survey of Vietnamese history.

This video below will serve as the introduction to each video. Stay tuned.

The Other North American View of “The 30-Years War in Vietnam” – the View that Will Never Change as Long as Academics only Speak to Fellow Intellectuals

In the previous post I commented on a recent essay that historian Christopher Goscha published in the New York Times called “The 30-Years War in Vietnam.” In those comments I attempted to point out the places where Goscha was basing his ideas on new scholarship.

What then is “old scholarship”?

Continue reading “The Other North American View of “The 30-Years War in Vietnam” – the View that Will Never Change as Long as Academics only Speak to Fellow Intellectuals”

The 30-Years War in Vietnam, and 30 Years of Western Scholarship

Historian Christopher Goscha had an essay published in the New York Times yesterday (7 February 2017) entitled “The 30-Years War in Vietnam.” This essay is about the wars that took place in Vietnam between 1945 and 1975. Goscha has recently published a survey of Vietnamese history, and the essay in the New York Times is based on his more detailed coverage of that same period in that book.

Goscha’s survey is called Vietnam: A New History, and it is indeed a “new” history. It is a history that is based on Goscha’s own research, but also on his extensive reading of the new scholarship that has emerged in the past 30 years in “the West.”

Continue reading “The 30-Years War in Vietnam, and 30 Years of Western Scholarship”

Writing History and Denouncing an Historian in 1950s North Vietnam

In 1958, North Vietnamese scholar Văn Tân published an article in the journal Văn Sử Địa entitled “Contributing to the Building of a General History of Vietnam – Some Views Regarding Some Published History Books” (Để góp phần xây dựng quyển thông sử Việt Nam – Mấy ý kiến đối với mấy bộ sách lịch sử đã xuất bản).

At that time there was a government-sponsored effort underway in the North to produce a new, and official, history of Vietnam. The goal was to produce a history that was based on scientific theory (which in this case meant Marxist theory), so as to move beyond the biases of earlier historians who had lived and worked in feudal (meaning “traditional” or “premodern”) and colonial societies.

Continue reading “Writing History and Denouncing an Historian in 1950s North Vietnam”

WTXT: Resistance Against Foreign Aggression/Invasion (Chống Ngoại Xâm) Edition

Dr. K. and his friend, the Little Red Monster, respond to a question about the historicity of the idea that Vietnamese history can be characterized as a long history of resistance against foreign aggression/invasion.

Happy Lunar New Year from Le Minh Khai’s SEAsian History Blog

It’s a new year, and we’re getting ready here at Le Minh Khai’s SEAsian History Blog to live life in this new year to its fullest.

After seven years, Le Minh Khai has finally revealed his true identity on the About page.

And after seven years, Le Minh Khai has decided that it’s finally time to take on the extremely important topic of the influence of the Nhân văn – Giai phẩm Affair on historical scholarship in North (and later, unified) Vietnam through text and video.

Continue reading “Happy Lunar New Year from Le Minh Khai’s SEAsian History Blog”

Đào Duy Anh’s 1946 Book on the Origins of the Vietnamese

After the August Revolution in 1945, Vietnamese historian Đào Duy Anh was invited to teach history at a university that was established later that same year called the Hanoi University of Letters (Đại Học Văn Khoa Hà Nội)

He only taught for about a couple of months because the university soon shut down, but his students were apparently so impressed by his teaching that they urged him to write and publish a book based on his lecture notes.

Continue reading “Đào Duy Anh’s 1946 Book on the Origins of the Vietnamese”

Interrogating Đào Duy Anh: A Tokyo Love Story

Once again Lê Minh Khải was transported in time, this time to Japan where he was asked about historians who had worked for a pro-Japanese government during World War II (Trần Trọng Kim and Hoàng Xuân Hãn).

Interrogating Đào Duy Anh: Everything’s Bigger in Texas

Michelle/Natasha and Lê Minh Khải went to a meeting with an American intelligence official named Hank (a friend of Papa François) where they talked about the Nhân Văn – Giai Phẩm Affair and historians in Saigon.

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