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Le Minh Khai's SEAsian History Blog

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Đào Duy Anh

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”

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.

Interrogating Đào Duy Anh: One Night in Tunis

Having rescued Lê Minh Khải from Dr. Wu, Natasha takes him to meet her Papa in Tunisia where they talk about the declining influence of French scholarship in North Vietnam. . .

Interrogating Đào Duy Anh: Dr. Wu’s Shoes

Lê Minh Khải is again transported back in time and forced to answer questions about Vietnamese historian Đào Duy Anh’s scholarship. This time he ends up in Hong Kong and is asked about Đào Duy Anh’s approach to Marxist historiography.

Interrogating Đào Duy Anh: From Moscow With Love (Part 2)

This video contains some more discussion of some of the conclusions that Đào Duy Anh reaches in his 1938 work, An Historical Outline of Vietnamese Culture (Việt Nam văn hóa sử cương).

Interrogating Đào Duy Anh: From Moscow With Love (Part 1)

This video contains a discussion of some of the conclusions that Đào Duy Anh reaches in his 1938 work, An Historical Outline of Vietnamese Culture (Việt Nam văn hóa sử cương).

Đào Duy Anh’s (French) Characterization of Vietnamese Intellectual Inferiority

In his 1938 work, An Historical Outline of Vietnamese Culture (Việt Nam văn hóa sử cương), Vietnamese historian Đào Duy Anh tried to do something that no Vietnamese scholar had ever attempted to do before. He tried to write a history of Vietnamese society.

This was very difficult, because as he noted in his book, the historical records that Vietnamese had written up to that point had dealt primarily with dynastic politics. They did not talk about “the people” (nhân dân), and therefore it was difficult to write about Vietnamese society in the past.

Continue reading “Đào Duy Anh’s (French) Characterization of Vietnamese Intellectual Inferiority”

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