Archives de catégorie : Agenda / Evénements

Haunted Landscapes and Ambiguous Memories: Interactions with the Past in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia [2010]

Haunted Landscapes and Ambiguous Memories: Interactions with the Past in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Convenors: Dr Oliver Tappe, Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle and Dr Vatthana Pholsena, Research Fellow, Institut d’Asie Orientale, Lyon.

[Panel EUROSEAS Aug. 2010]

Historical experiences of war and revolution have left visible traces in the landscapes of mainland Southeast Asia. In particular, war-ridden landscapes of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia are sites of contested and ambiguous memory. While the two Indochina Wars entailed scars both on peoples and places, experiments of orthodox socialism such as forced collectivization contributed to the character of the region as a topographic and demographic palimpsest. Lao, Vietnamese and Cambodian landscapes represent different historical layers and bear inscriptions of competing ideologies. From prisons and battlefields to re-education camps and resettled villages: 20th century history confronts people with manifold lieux de mémoire telling about sorrow and violence. The past lingers on in the physical, often ruined environment as well as in precarious objects such as unexploded ordnance.

Studies in the anthropology of landscape have discussed how people shape landscapes and landscapes shape people in an interactive cultural process. The transformative power of human activity on the physical environment is related to the power of the landscape generating affects on people. Landscapes can be considered as representations of cultural memory and mark the nexus of past, present and future. Both as meaning producing spatial forms and contested discursive sites of memory, landscapes influence imaginings of past experiences and visions of the future. Radical alterations of the physical environment – be it by large-scale bombing or the flooding of a hydropower dam site – thus affect traditional livelihoods as well as individual mental states. The understanding of everyday social life is inseparable from its cultural and physical surroundings.

In our panel we would like to examine how people interact with sites of traumatic or violent memory. Vietnamese landscapes contaminated by Agent Orange, the haunted killing fields of Cambodia and the Lao highlands scattered with cluster bombs are prominent examples of memorial landscapes as inhabited and constantly re-envisioned. The following questions shall be addressed: How do these landscapes affect the population and shape discourses of identity and memory? What are the people’s coping strategies in order to carry on living in brutally transformed and ruined landscapes that are also sites of haunting, traumatic memories? How do official historiographies try to occupy and define landscapes of memory? How do memories of suffering and displacement correlate with tendencies of making sites of memory available for tourist consumption?

We invite scholars to tackle and discuss these questions at the intersection between history and anthropology. By looking at how people and ‘violent’ landscapes interact, this panel attempts at giving new insights with regard to Southeast Asian memory discourses.

Panel proposal by:

  • Dr. Oliver Tappe, Research fellow, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle (Germany)
  • Dr. Vatthana Pholsena, Research fellow, Institut d’Asie Orientale, Lyon (France)

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Sacrifice, Heroism and the construction of a revolutionary lieu de mémoire – The case of Vieng Xay, Lao PDR.

Oliver Tappe

Vieng Xay, today a sleepy town of a few thousand inhabitants, represents one of the most dramatic episodes in Lao history. Between 1964 and 1973, the Lao highlands suffered constant air bombing by the Americans. Alongside the Plain of Jars and the Ho-Chi-Minh-Trail – discussed by Vatthana Pholsena and Elaine Russell – Houaphan province in Northeast Laos was the main target of the bombing campaign since it harbored the headquarters of the Lao communist movement. Supported by the North Vietnamese, the Pathet Lao fought a fierce civil war against the Lao royalists backed by the US. When the bombings escalated, the leadership moved into the caves of the karst mountains around Vieng Xay. Thousands of civilians followed this example and a proper cave city with more than 20,000 inhabitants emerged. The revolutionaries built commando centers, warehouses, schools, hospitals and factories inside the caves. Yet, the people’s everyday life meant constant struggle for survival.

Today, the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party highlights the legacy of the years in the caves as example of bravery, sacrifice and solidarity between Party and the so-called ‘Lao multi-ethnic people’. Vieng Xay emblematizes the liberation struggle of the valiant Lao people against foreign aggressors. Therefore, it plays a key role within the narratives of official revolutionary historiography and museum exhibitions. In recent years, Vieng Xay was promoted as a tourism destination, now attracting many visitors from the lowland Lao cities and from abroad. On the one hand, the hardships of the war years are now presented to younger Lao generations; on the other hand, foreign visitors get aware of a less known chapter of cold war history. Unlike most Lao history books, the official cave tour also illustrates the small fates of the population that suffered from the war. Yet, the relation between heroism and trauma remains ambivalent. Vieng Xay represents regional pride and the commitment to revolutionary solidarity as well as individual suffering and traumatic memories. Official commemorative politics imply the transformation of suffering into sacrifice and heroism – the utilization of memory for ideological purposes. Besides, some aspects of the region’s history such as the reeducation camps are still suppressed as they would disturb the nicely arranged narrative of the righteous revolutionary struggle. This paper shall discuss the politics of memorial landscapes as media of shaping, reproducing, and controlling collective memory.

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Transformed landscapes in south-eastern Laos: From the ruins of war to large-scale ‘development’

Vatthana Pholsena

This presentation focuses on a rural area in south-eastern Laos located on the Lao-Vietnamese border: Sepon district in Savannakhet Province. This area is predominantly inhabited by Mon-Khmer peoples, who are classified into two groups in Sepon (the Makong or Mangkong and the Tri) but known as one group in Vietnam (the Vân Kiêu or Bru-Vân Kiêu). However, there is also a significant minority of Tai-speaking Phuthai. The district of Sepon (formerly spelled Tchepone) is located in the east of Savannakhet Province on the 17th parallel that divided Vietnam into a communist zone in the north and a non-communist zone in the south as a result of the Geneva Agreements signed on July 21, 1954. Consequently, Sepon constituted a strategic centre and logistics base area for the North Vietnamese Army, and was one of the most important nodes on the transportation network widely known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Today, however, the landscape of (borderless) war – i.e. trails, craters, bare mountain slopes – is progressively giving way to a landscape of (national) development – asphalt roads, large-scale commercial plantations, hydropower projects. Traces of the past are receding in Sepon, though historical layers of ruins – remnants of war and reminders of the immediate postwar period – remain very much stamped onto the everyday landscape. In this paper, I interrogate the effects of this altering landscape on people’s war memories, and more
broadly, on their dealings with the past and negotiation with the present.

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Laos – Living with Unexploded Ordnance (UXO): Past Memories and Present Day Realities

Channapha Khamvongsa and Elaine Russell, Legacies of War

Laos is the most heavily bombed country in history. U.S. Vietnam War-era bombings from 1964-1973 left nearly half of Laos contaminated with vast quantities of unexploded ordnance (UXO). Today, close to 78 million unexploded cluster bombs litter forests, rice fields, villages, school grounds, roads and other populated areas. Over 34,000 people have been killed or injured by UXO since the bombing ceased, and each year there are 300 new casualties. More than half of all confirmed cluster munitions casualties in the world have occurred in Laos. Nearly 40 years on, only a fraction of these munitions have been destroyed. UXO has shaped the lives of generations, challenging their spirit, ingenuity, and cultural beliefs. For those who lived through the war and aftermath, memories are still sharp and painful, while younger generations focus on the future and ways of coping with the current reality.

The presence of UXO in the day to day lives of the Lao people has caused terrible human losses and a heavy economic burden for a country struggling with extreme poverty. From contamination of half the arable land to strains on a grossly inadequate health care system, the impacts of UXO are far reaching. The constant and unpredictable threat takes a psychological toll. Children, particularly boys, are the most vulnerable, making up 60 percent of the casualties. Cultural beliefs and biases toward people with disabilities are challenged by the rising number of UXO injuries, which often result in lost limbs. When husbands are killed or injured, women assume non-traditional roles as the primary worker in the fields or by taking jobs, such as working for the all-woman UXO clearance team. Despite the risks, people have adapted and found creative uses for scrap metal, bomb casings, and defused cluster munitions. But the desperate need for income, has also led people to collect scrap metal for sale, which in turn has caused more UXO casualties.

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Urban and rural lands in Cambodia: dealing with the scars of the past, building a memory for tomorrow.

Ariane Mathieu

The years of conflicts as well as the Khmer Rouge revolution and regime have strongly left their marks on the Cambodian land. I would like (i) to present the main transformations undergone by Khmer territories, and notably to underline the radical differences between rural and urban areas, and (ii) to highlight the way the actors manage to live with a kind of reasonable pragmatism in these spaces, which of course constantly remind of the sorrowful past, but should not inhibit current and future life. Besides, I would like to examine how the memory of Khmer Rouge times has been crystallized around specific places, both at national and local levels.

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Breathing new life into remnants of war in Southeast Asia

Krisna Uk

This paper offers an ethnographic insight into the survival strategies of local communities living in a post-conflict environment that remains affected by explosive remnants of war. Despite the heavy bombardment of the Ho Chi Minh trail from 1964 to 1975, which destroyed the physical landscapes of Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam, local populations living in former zones of heavy conflicts have developed practical ways to cope with the daily stress of environmental hazards. This paper examines the ways in which ethnic minority villages located in Northeast Cambodia has adjusted its daily livelihood by physically and psychologically coping with the multiple devastations caused by the wars.Whether in the form of live bombs, scrap metal, human remains, individual or collective memories, the material that is processed through collection, recollection, re-cycling and refashioning is key to a powerful therapeutic process that deals with an environment, which is emotionally and physically charged with a violent past. This paper seeks to discuss the extent of local resilience especially when it is confronted with the environmental damages caused by the extensive deployment of technological warfare by external powers. By drawing on the material culture of post-conflict ethnic minority communities, it argues that the life cycle of war-generated objects is illustrative of how the desolated landscapes of battlefields and memories can be ingenuously transformed so as to bear new meanings, take over new functions and embark into a new life.

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The legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam

Susan Hammond

[abstract follows]

Source : Global Studies / Göteborg Universitet


Travailleurs indochinois en France : conférence de Pierre Daum et hommage à Bergerac – 13-14/12/2012

[Message de Pierre Daum] Dès 1914, le gouvernement français fait venir en France des milliers de travailleurs coloniaux, parmi eux près de 49 000 en provenance d’Indochine. Pendant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, 20 000 Indochinois sont encore amenés en France, parfois contre leur gré, pour suppléer les travailleurs mobilisés. Ce sont eux, par exemple, qui apportent leur savoir à la riziculture camarguaise.



Immigrés de force : les travailleurs indochinois en France

Conférence de Pierre Daum, avec Clément Baloup
13 décembre 2012 à 18h30
Archives départementales des Bouches-du-Rhône (20, rue Mirès – 13003 Marseille)

Pierre Daum est journaliste, auteur de “Immigrés de force, les travailleurs indochinois en France 1939-1952” et “Ni valise ni cercueil, les Pieds-noirs restés en Algérie après l’indépendance

Clément Baloup est dessinateur et auteur des BD « Chính Tri, Le Chemin de Tuan », « Mémoires de Viet Kieu, Quitter Saigon »

Conférence dans le cadre du cycle Des travailleurs coloniaux aux travailleurs immigrés, une histoire en mouvement d’Approches Cultures et Territoires, en partenariat avec les Archives départementales des Bouches-du-Rhône.

Source : Approches Cultures et Territoires

* * *

Après Arles, Saint-Chamas, Miramas et Sorgues, la ville de Bergerac rend hommage aux milliers de travailleurs indochinois passé par son territoire.

Cliquez sur l’invitation pour l’agrandir

L’Année France-Vietnam 2013-2014 [annonce officielle]

Organisée à l’occasion du quarantième anniversaire de l’établissement des relations diplomatiques entre nos deux pays, l’Année France-Vietnam débutera par la France au Vietnam au deuxième semestre 2013, et se poursuivra avec le Vietnam en France, au premier semestre 2014.

Cette Année sera marquée par un large éventail d’événements, dans tous les domaines : la culture, l’éducation, la coopération en matière d’enseignement supérieur et de recherche, le tourisme, le sport, les industries culturelles et créatives, plus particulièrement l’architecture, la mode et le design, et, de manière plus générale, l’ensemble des échanges économiques entre la France et le Vietnam.

L’Année France-Vietnam sera l’occasion de mettre particulièrement en valeur l’acquis représenté par le dynamisme de la coopération décentralisée entre les collectivités des deux pays, très présente sur tout le territoire. Elle s’appuiera également sur l’apport des communautés vietnamiennes en France.

Tout en s’attachant à présenter des éléments remarquables de l’histoire, du patrimoine et des traditions de la France et du Vietnam, cette Année a pour ambition de faire découvrir à chacun des deux pays, les aspects les plus contemporains et les plus créatifs de l’autre, et de donner un nouvel élan aux échanges, tant dans le domaine économique, que dans les domaines culturel, éducatif, scientifique et sportif.

La labellisation des projets culturels

La labellisation est accordée par le comité mixte d’organisation franco-vietnamien, sur la base de la qualité du projet, de son adéquation avec les principes et orientations des Années croisées et de sa faisabilité.

Un projet labellisé intègre la programmation des Années croisées. A ce titre, il bénéficiera des supports de communication de l’Institut français (documents, site web…).

Pour plus d’informations et pour télécharger la fiche de labellisation : cliquez ici

 Les 4 Instituts français au Vietnam :

Journée des droits de l’homme, 10 décembre : “Ma voix compte”

[Message de l’ONU] Cette Journée est l’occasion, chaque année, de célébrer les droits de l’homme, de mettre en lumière un problème particulier, et de plaider pour que chaque individu, où qu’il se trouve, puisse exercer pleinement tous ses droits fondamentaux.

Cette année, l’accent sera mis sur les droits de tous les individus – les femmes, les jeunes, les minorités, les personnes handicapées, les autochtones, les personnes pauvres ou marginalisées – afin que leurs voix soient entendues dans la vie publique et prises en compte dans les décisions politiques.

Ces droits fondamentaux – droits à la liberté d’opinion et d’expression, droit de réunion et d’association pacifiques, droit de prendre part aux affaires publiques (articles 19, 20 et 21 de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme) – ont été au cœur des bouleversements historiques survenus dans le monde arabe ces deux dernières années, au cours desquelles des millions de personnes sont descendues dans la rue pour réclamer le changement. Dans d’autres parties du monde, les « 99 % » se sont exprimés à travers le mouvement mondial des indignés pour protester contre les inégalités économiques, politiques et sociales.

Source : UN

* * *

[ndlr] A l’occasion de cette journée mondiale des organisations vietnamiennes à l’étranger rappellent à travers l’affiche ci-dessous que plus de 258 prisonniers d’opinion connus sont actuellement incarcérés en RSVN. Une campagne se sensibilisation intitulée “Un Million de Cœurs, Une Voix” sous la forme d’une pétition en ligne a déjà recueilli plus de 128.000 signatures dépassant son objectif initial de 100.000 voix pour la Journée Internationale des Droits de l’Homme le 10 Décembre.


Source : Viet Tan, Ngày Quốc Tế Nhân Quyền 2012.

Une si jolie petite guerre : Conférence autour du roman graphique de Marcelino Truong 11/12/2012

INALCO – Salle 5.09
Mardi 11 décembre 2012
12h30 – 15h00

Une si jolie petite guerre

Conférence autour du roman graphique de Marcelino Truong
La conférence sera suivie de la projection du film “Mille jours à Saigon” de Marie-Christine Courtès

INALCO, 65, rue des Grands Moulins
75013 – Paris 
(M°/RER : Bibliothèque F. Mitterrand)

Un Mémorial pour les Ouvriers Indochinois : journée d’information le 1er décembre 2012

L’association du Mémorial pour les Ouvriers Indochinois

Vous invite

Samedi  1er Décembre 2012,

À partir de 9h00

à une journée d’information sur le projet d’implantation, à Salin de Giraud, d’une statue destinée à devenir le Mémorial national des travailleurs indochinois.

Travailleurs indochinois en Camargue – 1943

Salle Polyvalente de Salin de Giraud (Camargue)

Place des anciens combattants d’Algérie « Ancien cinéma »

Déroulement de la journée

9h00 – Ouverture de la salle, visite de l’exposition retraçant en photos et textes l’épopée des 20 000 travailleurs indochinois requis.

Animation vidéo projecteur et films d’archives

10h15 – Ouverture de la conférence débat par les membres de l’association M.O.I.

10h30 – Conférence débat avec Pierre DAUM, journaliste, auteur d’Immigrés de force, les travailleurs indochinois en France 1939-1952 (Actes Sud 2009) ; Nicolas KOUKAS, conseiller municipal adjoint d’Hervé SCHIAVETTI, maire d’Arles, en charge du travail de mémoire ; et Louis SAYN URPAR, avocat, bâtonnier de l’ordre près du tribunal de grande instance de Tarascon.

12h00  Vin d’honneur offert par la mairie d’Arles.

12h30 – Repas au restaurant (les SALADELLES). Prix spécial M.O.I. 20€.

Réservation impérative au 04 42 86 83 87.

14h30 – Réouverture de la salle Polyvalente. Visite libre de l’exposition.

17h30 – Fin de la journée d’information.

Programme en ligne (MOI_Journée du 1er décembre 2012)

Information communiquée par Pierre Daum le 21 novembre 2012.

Conférences IAO-LARHRA : Les sociétés coloniales en Asie 1850-1950

[ndlr] Entre le 28 novembre 2012 et le 20 février 2013, l’IAO (Institut d’Asie Orientale) et le LARHRA (Laboratoire de Recherche Historique Rhône-Alpes) co-organisent un cycle de quatre conférences dans le cadre de l’agrégation sur les Sociétés coloniales. Avec la participation de Alain Delissen (EHESS), Vanessa Caru (CEIAS), Rémy Madinier (CASE) et Pierre Souyri (Inalco), voir affiche ci-dessous.