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Sử gia Nguyễn Thế Anh – Người truyền cảm hứng

Hommage en vietnamien de Nguyễn Quang Diệu paru sur Tuoi Tre Online le 27 mars 2023.

TTCT -Những đóng góp cho học thuật của sử gia Nguyễn Thế Anh xứng đáng là nguồn cảm hứng để hậu thế tiếp tục duy trì, nghiên cứu và học hỏi.

Tôi liên lạc với ông lần đầu vào tháng 9-2015, với đề xuất tái bản tác phẩm Việt Nam thời Pháp đô hộ nổi tiếng của ông. Dù đồng ý cho tái bản cuốn sách nhưng ông cũng lo lắng cho hiệu quả kinh doanh vì cuốn sách mới “được NXB Văn Học tái bản năm 2008, vậy thì có nên in lại nữa không?”, đồng thời lưu ý “trong ấn bản đầu (Lửa Thiêng, 1970) có vài lỗi ấn loát cần phải sửa”.

Cả ông và tôi đều hiểu rằng, với độ lùi lịch sử sau gần 50 năm kể từ lần in đầu tiên, tác phẩm cần có một số hiệu chỉnh. Một số đề xuất của tôi bị ông từ chối với lời giải thích kỹ càng và thấu rõ. 

Trong quá trình làm việc, xử lý bản thảo, ông luôn thể hiện sự cầu thị, lắng nghe và phản biện. Mọi thắc mắc của tôi đều được ông giải đáp, như khi tôi hỏi thông tin để bổ khuyết cho hồ sơ về hành trạng của ông.

Sau khi hồi hưu năm 2005, ông vẫn giữ thói quen đọc tài liệu, tin tức, trước hết là cho bản thân ông, sau đó chia sẻ cho một nhóm nhỏ nhiều thành phần, đa quốc gia, khi là một bài báo, khi là một đề tài nghiên cứu quan trọng. Ông rất nhiệt tình trả lời email dù là vấn đề nghiên cứu hay việc riêng, tận tình kết nối với các học giả khác, những người mà ông cho rằng có thể giúp tôi giải đáp thắc mắc.

Nguyễn Thế Anh là một sử gia đứng ngoài chính trị. Trong học thuật, bút sử trung chính của ông thể hiện tính quan phương, tính khách quan trong sử học. 

Theo ông, lịch sử được viết ra không nên tồn tại như một tòa án, dẫu biết rất khó đặt chính trị sang một bên trong công việc của một nhà sử học. “Để có một cái nhìn chân thật của sử gia, tức là một cái nhìn tách rời với lập trường, chúng ta sẽ phải đợi rất lâu” ông nói.

Lire la suite / đọc thêm : Sử gia Nguyễn Thế Anh – Người truyền cảm hứng – Tuổi Trẻ Online ( – Nguyễn Quang Diệu

Illustration “à la une” : photo Nguyễn Quang Diệu

Hommage à Nguyên Thê Anh – par Keith W. Taylor (2008)

Nous postons ci-dessous un extrait (préface) de l’hommage rendu par l’historien américain Keith W. Taylor (Cornell University) à son collègue Nguyên Thê Anh lors de la parution d’un volume collectif édité en 2008 aux Indes savantes. Publié avec l’autorisation de l’auteur qui tenait à rappeler l’importance du travail rigoureux et novateur ainsi que l’indépendance d’esprit de son ami décédé.

Les historiens Nguyên Thê Anh et Keith W. Taylor en discussion lors d’un panel au 6e Congrès du GIS Asie à Paris le 28 juin 2017 © photo FG

Nguyen The Anh’s contribution to contemporary scholarship on Vietnam has been to inspire and to sustain a stream of academic thought that is both modern and national. His ability to countenance cultural diversity and a multi-centered national historiography contrasts with the recycling of traditional oligarchic absolutism masquerading as revolutionary nationalism that has prioritized scholarship in Vietnam since 1975. He has made a legacy not only with distinguished careers in two countries and with the contents of his work, but also by the nurturing encouragement that he has given to students and colleagues, to which this volume is a tribute.

Nguyen The Anh’s scholarship covers a wide range of topics and reveals a fresh and lively mind that is not confined by any form of dogma. He pioneered the study of the Nguyen dynasty long before it became fashionable to do so. This was the only major Vietnamese dynasty not based in Hanoi; it was a “southern” dynasty that could not be accommodated in a Hanoi-centric historiography except as a type of disloyalty to the nation, and, thusly categorized, it was considered unworthy of study. By researching this dynasty, Nguyen The Anh did not simply indicate resistance to the romanticized xenophobic heroics of revolutionary nationalism, and he did not merely open intellectual space for other ways of conceptualizing a Vietnamese historiography, but he offered a positive content to this option, a Vietnam engaged with the outside world rather than reactive and embattled, a Vietnam that had the intellectual confidence to accept and work through the inevitable confusions of rapid change and negotiated reform rather than giving in to the revolutionary temptation to set everything right with great spams of violence. This is increasingly important as Vietnamese studies moves further into the post-revolutionary era and as Vietnamese search with increasing urgency for alternatives to a worn-out vision of their national past.

My own appreciation of Nguyen The Anh can be conveyed by three themes that I believe are exemplified in his life and work: he reveals the creative energy produced by cross-border encounters whether understood as intranational or international; eschewing the simplistic inevitabilities of revolutionary ideology, he reveals national modernity in the experience of those who, once the revolutionary storm has been endured, must still live with the vicissitudes of gradual reform and change; finally, he reveals how, in the diaspora, a positive historiographic vision of the Vietnamese nation is kept alive through efforts to authorize Vietnam’s place in the contemporary world with a Vietnamese past that does not continually recycle in new forms of dogmatism.

Within these three themes is a tension between two fundamentally different ways of imagining Vietnam’s entrance to the modern world; these ways are exemplified by the two men who have become emblematic of early twentieth-century Vietnamese thought: Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinh. While Phan Boi Chau stood for revolutionary violence to resist French colonialism, Phan Chu Trinh advocated using the French to achieve reform and national renewal without violence. Those who chose to follow the path of violence has unsurprisingly prevailed; in doing so, they proposed a historiography that aims to justify the violence their ambitions have produced, and they propagated a national caricature of heroes constantly at war against foreign agression. What time has shown is that the wisdom of Phan Chu Trinh was deeper than that of Phan Boi Chau. Violence offers no shortcut to the future; on the contrary, it cuts a swath of human pain and fear that makes a mockery of the end to which it is thought to be a means.

The wisdom of Phan Chu Trinh is to openly encounter the alien with confidence that what is truly worth preserving, one’s own moral nature, cannot be destroyed without one’s own complicity. He understood the nation not as the fixed identity demanding obedience but as a project in motion inviting participation. In contrast, the career of Phan Boi Chau was propelled by a simple-minded determination to expel the foreigner in the name of a national identity that would in some natural way reassert itself once this was accomplished. The Vietnamese communists followed the path of Phan Boi Chau and we can now evaluate the results of that experiment as Vietnam continues to recover from decades of war and now struggles to enter the modern world on the path of Phan Chu Trinh.

The range of Nguyen The Anh’s scholarship is truly remarquable. He has writing many detailed studies of specific topics as well as broad studies that synthesize and analyze information from long periods of time. His work includes historical studies of geology, agriculture, and climatology; ideology and religion including Buddhism, Confucianism, popular religion and Marxism; commerce and trade; warfare; Sino-Vietnamese relations; relations between Vietnam and the West; East Asian and Southeast history; the history of the U.S.; the history of Vietnam generally; topics in Vietnamese history from the 15th through the 20th centuries, with particular emphasis on the Nguyen Dynastic and the French Colonial periods; and also studies of post-1945 Vietnamese history. This body of works engages all three themes mentioned above (border experiences, non-revolutionary nationalism, and a global view of the nation) with a large-minded confidence in being Vietnamese that can focus upon contact and change rather than identity and battle.

For example, in his work, borders are primarily places of encounter rather than demarcation. This theme to some extent can be understood as reflecting a “southern” rather than a “northern” Vietnamese perspective on borders. While the northern Vietnamese border has been fixed in one place for centuries, the southern border had expanded dramatically and has opened up contact with many other peoples and polities. A suspicion of “foreigners” and a defensive attitude toward borders is often taken as a “traditional Vietnamese perspective,” but, if so, it ignores the southern experience, which has successfully tested a sense of “being Vietnamese” amidst great cultural, linguistic, social, and economic diversity.

In the same vein lies a stream of thought about how the nation has entered what we call the modern world. While the dominant view has emphasized northern-oriented visions of national continuity going back thousands of years as the cornerstone of the modern nation, Nguyen The Anh understands the implications of a very simple fact: that the modern nation of Vietnam is gift of the south. It arose in the south, from Saigon, in the late eighteenth century, with the founders of the Nguyen dynasty, which created, for the first time ever, the Vietnam that we see on the map today. This Vietnam was put together by armies marching north, not south, from the so-called “frontier,” often disdained as a place of contamination, not from the “ancient heartland” celebrated by revolutionary enthusiasts.

Also, when southern viewpoints were disallowed expression in Vietnam, Nguyen The Anh has provided leadership for international scholarship that has remained free to explore the great complexity of Vietnamese culture and historical experience, moving far beyond the brave simplicities of revolutionaries. This is a great gift for Vietnam today as the post-revolutionary era offers opportunities for a more diverse climate of opinion.

Finally, I want to mention a fourth aspect of Nguyen The Anh’s legacy, which is of a different order, namely his reputation as an excellent historian who has rigorously studied texts and archival materials. He has been a mentor for many students who have learned how to be scholars from his example, and this will continue to have a positive effect upon the study of Vietnam in the future. Although his work arrives at theoretical implications, it grows from the discipline of scientific investigation rather than from prior ideological commitments.

For many scholars of Nguyen The Anh’s generation, living through the great upheavals caused by the decline of colonialism, the rise of revolutionary nationalism, and civil wars for control of the nation state, scholarship is a form of politics, a means to affirm a moral judgment against one’s political enemies, a sublimated form of resentment directed not only at what is understood as a dominating alien power of a rival national power, but also at once’s national self because of the nation’s inability to maintain the uncontaminated purity of its pre-colonial origins. Nguyen The Anh’s work has not succumbed to this simplistic reduction of scholarship to ideology. On the contrary, it has been a constant source of inspiration for scholarship that responds to an unfettered human curiosity about the past and a commitment to scientific methodological norms. This is no small achievement in the context of modern Vietnamese studies. […]

Keith W. Taylor, 2008.

Lien vers l’ouvrage :

Hommage au Professeur Nguyên Thê Anh – par François Guillemot

Cher Professeur, nous étions heureux-ses

Nous étions heureux-ses en votre compagnie à l’École Pratique des Hautes Études, cette école historique et philologique logée dans les murs d’une Sorbonne tout autant historique.

Nous étions heureux-ses à la Maison de l’Asie où se trouvait votre unité de recherche sur l’histoire des civilisations de la péninsule indochinoise.

Nous étions heureux-ses à vous écoutez, à débattre, à questionner, à raisonner… Il y avait les anciens d’une fidélité absolue : Paul-Marie Braun, Dang Quôc Co, Liliane Vo Quang et Yên, la musicologue Quynh Hanh, Vo Thu Tinh, Nguyên Tân Hung, Lê Dinh Cat, Nguyên Hoang Nghi, Nguyên Quang Tuân, Lucien Trong, Dominique, Thu et Quang…1 il y avait notre jeune génération Christopher, Agathe, Benoît, Fanny, Frédéric, Pascal, Claire, Vân Thu, Kim Liên… jusqu’à Louis, Florence, Viêt Anh de l’Institut Han Nôm à Hanoi…

Nous partions en voyage avec les bonzes de la forêt au Laos, nous nous plongions dans les affres de l’indépendance birmane, nous entrions dans des temples secrets du Champa, nous décryptions les attributs des génies populaires ou tutélaires, nous interrogions la construction des États-nations, les rébellions bouddhistes ou mandarinales, les mythes fondateurs, les textes ancestraux siamois, la modernité des élites ou les économies morales paysannes et il y avait toujours ce Viêt-Nam en filigrane… en embuscade.

Notre soif de connaissance était sans limite avec vous et tout ceci nous rendait heureux-ses…

Nous étions heureux-ses au restaurant asiatique, près de la Sorbonne, pour clore une saison de séminaire. Paris au printemps… en votre agréable et élégante compagnie.

Pendant quatorze ans vos enseignements ont rythmé le savoir sur la péninsule indochinoise2 au sein de cette école puis inlassablement de 2005 à 2022 vous avez pris sur votre temps libre pour constituer une liste de fidèles et nous faire parvenir quotidiennement les meilleures analyses sur l’Asie. Nous étions heureux-ses à vous lire et à continuer d’apprendre.

Nous, vos ancien-nes élèves, nous pensons à votre trajectoire personnelle, à votre courage, votre ténacité, votre intransigeance, votre rigueur de toujours, votre résilience qui, du Laos de votre enfance à la guerre du Viêt-Nam, vous a amené en France pour accomplir d’une main de maître cette transmission du savoir sur l’Asie.

Un savoir critique puisé à la source des nouvelles études anglo-saxonnes… vous étiez un des rares à converser et à écrire autant en français, en anglais qu’en vietnamien.

Nous étions ainsi quelques uns-unes à faire notre thèse sous votre direction, une direction sans concession, rigoureuse de sens.  C’était un chemin semé d’embûches parfois difficile mais nous étions fièr-es et heureux-ses.

Nous pensons aujourd’hui à tout ce que vous avez apporté à notre génération pour élaborer une histoire solidement charpentée, novatrice et fondamentale ouvrant des perspectives.

Nous étions heureux-ses en votre compagnie à Paris jusqu’à la douceur du printemps et nous garderons ce bonheur intérieur en nous-mêmes pour toujours. Pour toute ceci, un grand Merci. ĐA TẠ

François Guillemot, ancien élève de l’EPHE, ingénieur de recherche au CNRS en poste à l’Institut d’Asie Orientale à Lyon (UMR 5062).

Image “à la une” de gauche à droite : Philippe Papin, Directeur d’Études à l’EPHE, François Guillemot, ingénieur de recherche CNRS et le Professeur Nguyên Thê Anh lors du 6e Congrès du GIS Asie le 26 juin 2017 à Paris.


  1. L’ensemble des participant-es à ces séminaires sont mentionné-es dans les livrets-annuaire de l’EPHE, disponibles sur le portail Persée []
  2. Les enseignements sur la chaire Histoire et civilisations de la péninsule indochinoise furent professés par Pierre-Bernard Lafont, décédé en 2008, Mme Thanh-Tâm Quach-Langlet, décédée en 2003 et Nguyên Thê Anh seul à partir de 2002 []

Nguyên Thê Anh : État et société du Viêt-Nam ancien (entretien en 2005)

A l’occasion de la disparition du Professeur Nguyên Thê Anh, nous postons un entretien déjà ancien, disponible sur la chaîne Canal U. Au départ de l’entretien, Nguyên Thê Anh revient sur sa trajectoire d’historien.

Dans cet entretien, Monsieur NGUYÊN THÊ ANH, aborde plusieurs points essentiels de l’histoire du Vietnam. Partant de la dernière dynastie régnante au Vietnam – les  Nguyễn – qui a réussit à unifier le pays au début du XIXe siècle, il nous décrit le système confucéen de gouvernement adopté par cette dynastie. Puis il décrypte les rapports d’articulation entre le système administratif très structuré vietnamien et la colonisation française pour en venir au système administratif colonial. Il développe ainsi le thème de la perception du colonialisme français au Vietnam et les mouvements de résistance engendrés.

NGUYÊN THÊ ANH est ancien Recteur de l’Université de Huê, ancien professeur à l’Université de Saigon, ancien directeur du Centre d’Histoire et Civilisations de la Péninsule Indochinoise (EPHE/CNRS), Professeur émérite de l’École Pratique des Hautes Études (Sciences Historiques et Philologiques) – IVe Section (Sorbonne). Il a dirigé le Centre d’Histoire et Civilisations de la Péninsule indochinoise, qui rassemble des enseignants-chercheurs et des chercheurs travaillant sur l’évolution des différents pays du monde indochinois au cours des XIVe-XXe siècles, période de la formation des sociétés et États contemporains. Ainsi, tout en s’attachant spécialement à l’étude de l’histoire socioéconomique et intellectuelle du Viêt-Nam ancien, il a coordonné les activités du Centre autour de l’analyse des rapports entre les États et les cultures pour tenter d’évaluer, à partir des situations de contact, les convergences et les divergences entre les sociétés de la péninsule indochinoise et de l’Asie du Sud-Est en général. Dans cette optique, il a consacré ses séminaires des années 2003-2004-2005, à l’EPHE, à une réflexion approfondie sur la légitimation du pouvoir en péninsule indochinoise du XVIIIe au XXe siècle.


Giáo sư Trần Hữu Dũng [1945-2023], người đứng trước Vạn Lý Hỏa Thành [BBC]

Annonce du décès de M. Tran Huu Dung professeur émérite en économie de l’université de Wright State à Dayton (Ohio, Etats-Unis). M. Dung était une figure clé de la communauté académique, fondateur du site Viêt Studies sur lequel il publiait une chronique quotidienne sur la société, l’économie et la politique du Viêt-Nam.

Nếu có người hỏi tôi rằng ai gây ảnh hưởng lớn đến giới trí thức trong nước Việt Nam cuối thế kỷ 20, đầu thế kỷ 21, tôi sẽ không ngần ngại trả lời rằng đó là giáo sư Trần Hữu Dũng, ở Dayton, Ohio, Hoa Kỳ.

Không phải ông có ảnh hưởng từ lý thuyết, hay tư tưởng của ông, ông cũng không phải là một nhà cách mạng, mà là do con thuyền tri thức mà ông gầy dựng, trang Viet-Studies. Miệt mài mấy mươi năm không nghỉ, trang Viet-Studies chuyên chở bao nhiêu tri thức nhân loại đến với giới trí thức Việt Nam, già lẫn trẻ, khao khát đằng sau… bức màn tre.

Giáo sư Trần Hữu Dũng qua đời vào sáng ngày 28/2/2023, tại Hoa Kỳ.

Lire la suite : Giáo sư Trần Hữu Dũng, người đứng trước Vạn Lý Hỏa Thành – BBC News Tiếng Việt (article de Joaquin Nguyễn Hòa)

Retrouvez la sélection d’articles proposée quotidiennement depuis 2004 par M. Tran Huu Dung sur la page “Kinh te” (Economie) de son site :

Photo “à la une” : Le professeur Tran Huu Dung en entretien avec la BBC News en vietnamien en marge d’un atelier à l’Université Humboldt, Berlin, Allemagne, été 2015.

The Intellectual History of Buddhism in the Republic of Viet Nam (1955-1975)

Parution d’un important numéro spécial multilingue sur le mouvement bouddhiste sous la République du Viêt-Nam (1955-1975) sous la direction de Olga Dror (Texas A&M University) et de Wynn Gadkar-Wilcox (Western Connecticut State University). N° 35 de la Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, accès en ligne.

Images of Buddhist protest are an enduring part of the collective memory of the Second Indochina War. Along with the most iconic image of Thích Quảng Đức’s June 1963 self-immolation in protest of Ngô Đình Diệm’s Buddhist policy, images of marches and protest meditations in Saigon abound. On the surface, the proximate reasons for these protests have been well understood since they began: in 1963, groups of politically active Buddhist monks, led by a faction from Huế were upset over the Diệm administrations heavy-handed enforcement of a restriction on sectarian flags, and over Diệm’s insensitivity to Buddhist concerns. In 1965-66, Buddhists, again led from Huế and now politically engaged on an even broader level, were calling for a swift end to military dictatorship; some went further and called for a withdrawal of US troops and a negotiated settlement to end the war.


This volume presents an exploration of this intellectual context for Buddhist political actions in Vietnam in the 1960s. Each essay focuses on exploring the motivations of key Buddhist actors. They attempt to delve into key Buddhist journals and texts to discover the connections between political actions of the 1960s and Buddhist experiences from the 1930s to 1950s. 

Lire la suite : The Intellectual History of Buddhism in the Republic of Viet Nam (1955-1975) – Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia

Sommaire :

Article 1

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Article 3

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Article 5

Tran Thi Anh-Dao (ed.): Rethinking Asian Capitalism [2022]

Paru en juillet 2022, repenser le “Renouveau” vietnamien dans la mondialisation et les économies d’Asie du Sud-Est. Un ouvrage collectif sous la direction de Tran Thi Anh-Dao. Résumé ci-dessous.

Lien vers la présentation de l’ouvrage en ligne :