Archives par mot-clé : Tuong Vu

“Studying Republican Vietnam: Issues, Challenges, and Prospects” – Call for papers

[ndlr] Appel à communication sur l’étude du républicanisme vietnamien. Une initiative importante pour la compréhension de la déchirure vietnamienne et ses conséquences politiques sur le long terme.

The Center for Asian-Pacific Studies and the Asian Studies Program at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, are pleased to announce the CALL FOR PAPERS for a Workshop on “Studying Republican Vietnam: Issues, Challenges, and Prospects,” to be held on October 14-15, 2019 at the University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA.


Scholarly interest in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) has surged in the last decade. Yet Republican Vietnam is a much broader subject, ranging from the spread of republican ideas to French Indochina at the turn of the century to the memories of the RVN among the diaspora and the resurgence of interests in republican values in Vietnam today, and everything in between. We invite paper proposals from US, international and Vietnam-based scholars to address the following questions and topics:

• Vietnamese republicanism: its character, history, evolution, current status, and historical relations to communism and monarchism
• The RVN’s life and legacies: political, security, economic, social, cultural, religious and educational institutions and policies under the RVN
• The experience of the RVN in nation-building and in the struggle for democratic rule and constitutional order compared with other postcolonial contexts
• The evolution of Republican ideas, leaderships, and institutions from the First Republic (1955-63) to the Interregnum (1963-67) to the Second Republic (1967-75)
• The significance of the Republican experience in Vietnamese history; lessons from that experience
• Parallels between the civil wars of 20th-century Vietnam and earlier civil wars in Vietnamese history
• Historiography of the RVN: in today’s Vietnam, in foreign scholarship, among the diaspora
• Anticommunism in Vietnam and among the diaspora abroad: its main themes and organizations; its relationship with republicanism
• The diaspora: political, economic, cultural, religious, and educational organizations; issues of trauma, memories, and identity
• The study of the RVN and Vietnamese republicanism: challenges and prospects

Please submit your paper proposals by March 1st, 2019 to Tuong Vu, Department of Political Science, University of Oregon, at: Authors whose proposals are selected will be notified by April 15th, 2019. A draft of proposed papers is due by August 15th.

Paper presenters will be provided with funds for travel and accommodation during the Workshop. For updates on the Workshop, please use this link: We expect to edit and publish workshop papers with a university press.

Tuong Vu
University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403

Image “à la une” : Enveloppe Premier jour “Le Viêt-Nam dans la lutte et la reconstruction”, 1966 © DR

H-Diplo Roundtable XX, 2 on Vietnam’s Communist Revolution: The Power and Limits of Ideology

[ndlr] Une table ronde sur le dernier ouvrage de Tuong Vu, à lire sur le site de H Diplo.

Roundtable Editors: Thomas Maddux and Diane Labrosse

Roundtable and Web Production Editor: George Fujii
Introduction by Peter B. Zinoman

Tuong Vu.  Vietnam’s Communist Revolution:  The Power and Limits of Ideology.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2017.  ISBN:  9781107154025 (hardback, $105.00); 9781316607909 (paperback, $35.99).



Introduction by Peter B. Zinoman, University of California, Berkeley

© 2018 The Authors.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.



by Peter B. Zinoman, University of California, Berkeley

I this forum on Tuong Vu’s Vietnam’s Communist Revolution: The Power and Limits of Ideology, four distinguished historians address critical questions raised in the book about the history of Vietnamese Communism. They include Christopher Goscha (the most important historian of Vietnam writing today in English), Sophie-Quinn Judge (author of the best biographical study of Ho Chi Minh in any language), Stein Tønnesson (a prolific scholar of the ‘international’ history of Vietnam in the 1940s) and Alec Holcombe, (a brilliant young historian of Vietnamese Communism). The four participants sort themselves into two factions, a war-era faction (Quinn-Judge and Tønnesson) who reject Tuong Vu’s central claims, and a post-war faction (Goscha and Holcombe) who endorse them. The division on exhibit here confirms that, despite the passage of over four decades, old disputes over interpretations of the Vietnam War remain unresolved.

While many Western-language studies have explored discrete periods in the history of Vietnamese Communism, Vietnam’s Communist Revolution is the first sweeping examination of the movement from its origins in the 1920s through the post-Vietnam War era. Based on a trove of vernacular-language sources of unparalleled scope and depth, it proposes a novel and interesting periodization of Vietnamese Communism (1917-1930, 1931-1940, 1940-1951, 1953-1960, 1957-1963, 1964-1975, 1976-1979, 1980-1991, 1991-2010) and offers a wide-ranging account of its evolution over time.   The historical insight featured in the book is especially impressive given Tuong Vu’s disciplinary background in political science. Supplementing his arguments about continuity and change, Tuong Vu advances the straightforward thesis that the most influential factor in the history of Vietnamese communism has been its leaders’ unwavering devotion to the political ideas of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong. This thesis makes a modest contribution to the political science scholarship, Tuong Vu notes, by adding “another case to the comparative literature, demonstrating the salience of revolutionary ideology in world politics” (13). In the context of Vietnam War studies, on the other hand, Tuong Vu’s thesis represents a forceful intervention into one of the oldest and most contentious debates in the field.

During the Vietnam conflict, ‘hawks’ and ‘doves’ disagreed about the fundamental political orientation of America’s enemy. For hawks, both the northern Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) and the guerilla insurgency that it supported in the southern Republic of Vietnam (RVN) were principally motivated by a version of Communist internationalism. As evidence, hawks pointed to Ho Chi Minh’s long career as a Comintern agent, the integration of the DRV into the Eastern bloc, the violent social revolution (including the land reform and collectivization) that the Party spearheaded in the North, and the Vietnamese movement’s formal veneration of Mao and Stalin.  For hawks, the Communist leadership’s relentless and ultimately successful drive to conquer South Vietnam derived from a quasi-religious desire to liberate countrymen oppressed by capitalism and imperialism.

For doves, on the other hand, the Vietnamese Communist leadership’s core motivation was nationalism. As evidence, they pointed out that the two great causes animating the movement between 1925 and 1975 were freedom from colonial rule and territorial unification. They also found an intense nationalism in the trope of ‘resistance to foreign invasion’ that saturated the historical narratives and political culture promoted by Vietnamese Communism.  For doves, the critical nationalist agenda of the Vietnamese Communists was an important reason why the containment doctrine should never have been applied to the country and why the American intervention was misguided from the start.

Tuong Vu’s argument about the devotion of Vietnamese Communist elites to a radical leftist ideology reprises the hawkish position but he fortifies it significantly by mobilizing a massive new body of corroborating evidence. “In researching his topic,” Holcombe points out, “Tuong Vu took advantage of thousands of Party resolutions, orders, circulars, and general policy statements made public by the Vietnamese government in its 2001 Party Documents series. He appears to have read, cover to cover, every one of this series’ fifty-nine volumes, along with a variety of newspapers, archival materials, memoirs, and secondary scholarship.” Tuong Vu’s exceptionally wide reading impresses even his toughest critics. Tønnesson praises his “thorough research and impressive erudition” while Quinn-Judge, in an otherwise unsympathetic review, acknowledges that the “author has gone farther and deeper into this topic than any previous writer in English.”

While they do not map on to each other with complete precision, the dovish and hawkish positions dovetail with contending schools of historical interpretation of the Vietnam War known as orthodoxy and revisionism. The persistence of these tendencies in the field may be seen in two issues raised in the Forum about which reviewers express conflicting views. The first is the so-called ‘lost opportunity thesis’ which argues that an irrationally anti-Communist United States rejected friendly overtures from Ho Chi Minh during the 1940s and 50s thus driving the Vietnamese Communists into the arms of Beijing and Moscow. Citing copious textual evidence, Tuong Vu rejects this thesis, arguing that the zealous ideological partisanship of the Vietnamese leadership at the time made an alliance with America unlikely in the extreme. Goscha and Holcombe support Tuong’s Vu’s rejection of the ‘lost opportunity thesis,’ with Goscha noting that a similar argument about a lost American opportunity in communist China has been called convincingly into question by scholars such as Chen Jian.[1] Quinn-Judge and Tønnesson, on the other hand, continue to endorse ‘the lost opportunity thesis,’ with Quinn-Judge arguing that it was American intransience that radicalized the DRV.

A second issue over which reviewers disagree is Tuong Vu’s argument about internal factionalism within the Communist leadership. For Tuong Vu, factionalism in the Party has been overrated, as has a theory that the leadership was split between a moderate nationalist wing headed by Ho Chi Minh and a radical, internationalist wing led by Le Duan. Calling into question the characterization of Ho Chi Minh as a moderate nationalist, Tuong Vu suggests that what is most striking about the Vietnamese Communists was their shared commitment to the same overarching ideological project.   With some minor caveats, Holcombe endorses this interpretation adding that doves inflate the significance of factionalism within the Vietnamese Communist leadership for two instrumental reasons: it evokes the presence of moderate Communist elites who deserved American support and it heightens a contrast between a flexible, moderate Ho Chi Minh and a rigid extremist United States. Quinn-Judge and Tønnesson remain unconvinced by this revisionist argument.  The former argues that Ho Chi Minh was a moderate pragmatist with a strong nationalist streak. The latter attempts to resuscitate the fifty-year old interpretive scheme advanced by Huynh Kim Khanh which highlighted a conflict between ‘national patriots’ (led by Ho Chi Minh) and ‘proletarian internationalists’ (ultimately the Le Duan and Le Duc Tho faction).[2]

Contributors to the Forum raise additional questions and concerns. In response to Tuong Vu’s analysis of ‘factional divides within the party’ during the latter stages of the War, Goscha requests more historiography through additional engagement with the work of scholars who hold differing views. Holcombe attributes greater significance to Ho Chi Minh’s struggles with rivals in the 1930s and he disputes Tuong Vu’s optimistic speculation that the War was ‘winnable’ for the RVN. He also questions Tuong Vu’s conclusions about the ‘rationality’ of Hanoi’s post-war foreign policy. Quinn-Judge and Tønnesson question the book more aggressively. Quinn-Judge challenges its mono-causal explanatory framework and its static portrayal of Communist ideology. She restates her essentially sympathetic interpretation of Ho Chi Minh as a moderate, pragmatic nationalist, an argument of Tønnesson’s as well. Tønnesson rejects Tuong Vu’s overly rigid view of Communist ideology which, he claims, changed over time and included space for the expression of diverse positions.  He also argues that patriotism, not Communism, “carried the greatest normative weight for Vietnam’s Communist leaders.”

The critiques of Quinn-Judge and Tønnesson affirm the durability of divisions that date back fifty years. But they also introduce little new concrete evidence to back up their claims. This contrasts with the massive excavation of primary source material carried by Tuong Vu. Owing to his prodigious labors, the weight of the empirical record tips significantly in favor of his revisionist thesis.

H-Diplo Roundtable XIX, 8 on Vietnam: A New History

[ndlr] Parution de la tribune H-Diplo consacrée à l’ouvrage de Christopher Goscha. Une excellente tribune à lire.

Roundtable Review
Volume XIX, No. 8 (2017)
23 October 2017

Roundtable Editors: Thomas Maddux and Diane Labrosse
Roundtable and Web Production Editor: George Fujii

Introduction by Thomas Maddux

Christopher Goscha.  Vietnam: A New History. New York: Basic Books, 2016. ISBN: 9780465094363 (hardcover, $35.00).

URL vers le PDF en ligne :

Voir aussi :

© 2017 The Authors.

Nation-Building in War: The Experience of Republican Vietnam, 1955-1975 – Berkeley, 17-18 octobre 2016

[ndlr] Le renouveau des études sur l’expérience républicaine au Sud Viêt-Nam se poursuit. Annonce d’un important colloque sur la construction de l’État-nation au Sud entre 1955 et 1975 (co-organisé par le Centre des Études de l’Asie du Sud Est de l’Université de Berkeley, Californie et le Journal of Vietnamese Studies).


Nation-Building in War: The Experience of Republican Vietnam, 1955-1975


October 17 | 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

October 18 | 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

180 Doe Library

★ ★ ★

Center for Southeast Asia Studies

Saigon © John Dominis

This symposium is about the experience of nation-building in Republican Vietnam during 1949-1975. During this period, many Vietnamese sought a non-communist future for their country with the support of the United States. Over more than two decades, these men and women worked together toward that goal as much as fought against each other over differences in visions and policies. This took place within the broader context of large-scale military conflicts (the civil war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam and the Cold War between the superpowers).

Scholarship on the subject has focused mostly on that broader context of warfare while overlooking the project of nation-building carried out by South Vietnamese. In fact, much more took place in politics, society, culture, and the economy than in the military realm. Another bias of scholarship is its obsession with external intervention and its corresponding neglect of Vietnamese agency. While the U.S. played a crucial role in the viability of South Vietnam as an independent entity, South Vietnamese efforts have not been fully appreciated.

This symposium hopes to document and analyze such Vietnamese efforts in both military and other areas of nation-building by presenting panels of South Vietnamese officials, politicians, academics, and journalists who were active participants in historical developments, paired with panels of young scholars who will be asked to place the testimonies of participants in their contexts and to evaluate their significance.

Organizers: Peter Zinoman, Professor of History, UC Berkeley; Tuong Vu, Professor of Political Science, University of Oregon


  • Col. Trần Minh Công, Commandant of RVN Police Academy
  • Nguyễn Đức Cường, Minister of Trade and Industry
  • Kiều Chinh, Actress
  • Huỳnh Văn Lang, Director of Foreign Exchange Agency and secretary of the Can Lao Party’s Joint North-South branch, founder of Bách Khoa Review and the Association for the Development of Popular Culture
  • Phạm Kim Ngọc, Minister of Economy
  • Hoàng Đức Nhã, Presidential Advisor and Minister of Mass Mobilization and Open Arms
  • Nhã Ca, Writer
  • Dr. Nguyễn Hữu Phước, National Director of Elementary Teacher Training & In-Service Training, Ministry of Education
  • Lt. Col. Bùi Quyền, Deputy Commander, Third Airborne Brigade
  • Dr. Võ Kim Sơn, Lecturer, Faculty of Education, University of Saigon
  • Cao Văn Thân, Minister of Land Reform and Agricultural Development
  • Vũ Quốc Thúc, Central Bank Governor and Minister of Reconstruction and Development
  • Vũ Thanh Thủy, War Correspondent
  • Phạm Trần, Journalist
  • Lâm Lễ Trinh, Minister of Interior and Ambassador
  • Sean Fear, Postdoctoral Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy and International Security, Dartmouth College
  • Kevin Li, Ph.D. candidate, History, UC Berkeley
  • Ryan Nelson, Ph.D. candidate, History, UC Berkeley
  • Huong Nguyen, Ph.D. candidate, History, University of Washington
  • Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen, Associate Professor of Australian Studies, Monash University
  • Van Nguyen-Marshall, Associate Professor of History, Trent University (Canada)
  • John Schafer, Emeritus Professor of English, Humboldt State University
  • Simon Toner, Postdoctoral Fellow in Southeast Asian Studies, Columbia University
  • Nu-Anh Tran, Assistant Professor of History and Asian American Studies, University of Connecticut
  • Alex-Thai Dinh Vo, Ph.D. candidate, Cornell University
  • Tuong Vu, Professor of Political Science, University of Oregon
  • Peter Zinoman, Professor of History, UC Berkeley

The program of October 18 includes a book launch from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., by Prof. Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen (Monash University), who will discuss her new book South Vietnamese Soldiers: Memories of the Vietnam War and After (2016)

CA,, 510-642-3609

[Programme des deux journées à télécharger]

CSEAS Vietnam Program UPDATE

Source : CSEAS

Tuong Vu : The United States isn’t the only country still trying to figure out the Vietnam War

[ndlr] Article de Tuong Vu sur la signification et le poids de la guerre pour le Viêt-Nam d’aujourd’hui.

Forty years ago this month, the savage war in Vietnam ended dramatically with North Vietnamese tanks crashing through the gates of the Presidential Palace in Saigon. As Americans continue to struggle over the legacies of the Vietnam War, it may surprise many of us that our former enemy who won that war is confronting a crisis over its meaning.

Ever since the end of the war, Hanoi leaders have sought to capitalize on their military victory to legitimize their rule. Every year the event is celebrated with great fanfare, as “the day when South Vietnam was liberated and the country reunified.” The victory on that day, Vietnamese are told again and again, epitomized the 4,000-year history of Vietnamese struggle for independence. Its greatness validated the eternal mandate of the Communist Party to rule the country.

Yet public opinion inside Vietnam about the meaning of the war has quietly shifted in the last two decades as Vietnamese gained the freedom to travel abroad, as scholars gained access to previously classified documents, and as the internet broke the government’s monopoly on access to information. The internet has been the government’s chief adversary more than anything else. Most Vietnamese were born after the war, and without the internet they would not have been able to know what really happened during the war and in its aftermath.

In this June 1965 photo, South Vietnamese civilians, among the few survivors of two days of heavy fighting, huddle together in the aftermath of a battle to retake a Vietcong-held post at Dong Xoai, Vietnam © AP Photo/Horst Faas.


Much to the government’s chagrin, Vietnamese now view the war as a proxy war and civil war rather than one for national liberation and unification (Tuong Vu).

Lire la suite / Read more : History News Network, 20/04/2015.

A native of Vietnam and an associate professor of political science at the University of Oregon, Tuong Vu has authored many books and articles about the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the Vietnamese revolution. He can be reached at

David G. Marr: Vietnam – State, War, and Revolution (1945-1946) [H-Diplo]

Marr_VietnamStateWarRevolution[ndlr] Un H-Diplo important sur le dernier ouvrage du grand historien David G. Marr. Introduction de Stein Tonnesson, analyses de Pierre Brocheux, Shawn McHale, Pham Quang Minh et Tuong Vu suivies de la réponse de l’auteur. A lire sur H-Diplo.

Vietnam: State, War, and Revolution (1945–1946) is a work of immense value for future debates about such issues, because it brings so many previously unknown facts to the table. The book is likely to attract many Vietnamese readers. Books like these cannot yet be produced by Vietnam-based Vietnamese scholars, who are not free to undertake independent research on topics of major political importance. Once Marr’s book appears in a complete and fully reliable Vietnamese translation – as Pham Quang Minh says it must – it is likely to become a work of reference in Vietnam. My hope is that it will set a standard of historical craftsmanship for future generations of Vietnamese historians (Stein Tonnesson).

Accéder aux textes (PDF) :

H-Diplo Roundtable on David G. Marr. Vietnam: State, War, and Revolution (1945-1946)
3 June 2014


Vietnamese Political Studies and Debates on Vietnamese Nationalism – by Tuong Vu

Does a Vietnamese nation exist? Is it an ancient entity, or a modern invention? Is national consciousness to be found only among political elites, or do the masses also hold such sentiments? What is the nature of Vietnamese nationalism: is it a psychological sense of patriotism, an anticolonial ideology, or a quest for political power? What is the Vietnamese national character? What is the relationship between Vietnamese nationalism and communism? This review of the state of Vietnamese political studies (1) in the United States since the 1950s finds that these questions have preoccupied scholars of Vietnamese politics and political history more than any other topic.

Over the last fifty years, the field has undergone two growth spurts, one in the mid 1960s and the other since the mid 1980s. The first took place as the United States deepened its involvement in Vietnam, while the second occurred at the end of the Cold War. At both turning points the fieldexpanded rapidly, both in quantitative and qualitative terms, reflecting the profound impact of political events on scholarship. At the same time, the growth spurts foreshadowed shifts in the substantive debates on the Vietnamese nation and nationalism. In particular, before the mid 1960s debates were implicit and mild in tone. Diverse views existed, but pessimism about the Vietnamese nation and doubts about its unifying power and moral character were pervasive. Despite the belief in the modern origins of nations that was prevalent among social scientists at the time, in Vietnamese Studies only a few believers in Vietnam as an ethnic nation existed. At the same time, some adopted an alternative concept that defined the Vietnamese nationality not along the primordial-modern dimension but as a communal identity to be found at the village level. And as for Vietnamese nationalism, most analysts viewed it as contradicting and being threatened by communism.

As the war escalated and the field experienced its first growth spurt after the mid 1960s, the tone of debate became increasingly combative and its character more polemic. The earlier pessimism was replaced in this new, more sophisticated scholarship by an optimism about the Vietnamese nation. This nation was now seen primarily as an ethnic group whose identity had been shaped over the centuries out of repeated resistance to foreign invasions. There was also a new belief in the possible affinity for and benefit of an alliance between nationalism and communism. Reflecting an important trend in the social sciences and the normative concerns of analysts, Vietnamese nationalism was now conceptualized simply as anticolonialism. Overall, the new scholarship of this period made major contributions to the understanding of Vietnamese politics, but it was also highly partisan—that is, its arguments and evidence were often deployed in not-so-subtle ways to justify certain policy positions. While no scholarship can ever be free of ideological biases, these were more pronounced and sometimes explicitly proclaimed in works written during this period.

Since the early 1980s, as the field gathered steam for a second expansive phase, the debates have become less polemic and ideological. New ways to conceptualize the Vietnamese nation have emerged that challenge earlier thinking. The existence and power of the Vietnamese nation are no longer assumed or denied in a simplistic manner, while the processes by which the nation was created or sustained receive a new scrutiny. In sync with developments in social science theory, the Vietnamese nation is now primarily viewed as a modern social construct or cultural artifact. Vietnamese nationalism is treated not only as resistance to foreign rule but also as a cover for power politics. The affinity between communism and nationalism is rejected. A welcome development is the more direct engagement of Vietnam scholarship of this third period with broad theories in the social sciences. By productively applying these theories to old questions or by using Vietnamese cases to criticize them, current scholarship gives the topic a renewed salience and offers new vistas for future exploration.

This review is organized into three parts, corresponding to the three periods the field has experienced. In each part, I will begin by discussing political events, theoretical trends in the social sciences—especially regarding the study of nations and nationalism—and trends in related fields such as Asian or Southeast Asian Studies. The bulk of each section is devoted to the debates on questions about the Vietnamese nation and nationalism. In the conclusion I will speculate about future trends in the field, which appears to be moving away from these questions. Three areas of potential fruitful research are suggested, including changing Vietnamese loyalties in the era of globalization, the ethnic dimension of the modern Vietnamese nation, and the relationship between nationalism, socialism, and state building in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) during the war.

Read more on pdf

Ref. : Journal of Vietnamese Studies 2: 2 (August 2007), pp. 175-230.

Tuong Vu (Visiting Research Fellow, Project on Democracy and Development; September 2011–June 2012). Vu is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Oregon.  His research interests include state formation and development, the politics of nationalism, the role of ideology and identity in domestic and international conflicts, and the role of communist ideology in the Vietnamese revolution.  He is the author of Paths to Development in Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, China, and Indonesia (2010) and coeditor of Dynamics of the Cold War in Asia: Ideology, Identity, and Culture (2009). While at Princeton, Vu will work on two projects: a book that examines the role of ideology in the Vietnamese revolution as a case of radical politics in the periphery, and a paper that examines the role of capital and coercion in the formation of modern East Asian states. Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley.

See Tuong Vu profile