Archives par mot-clé : vie quotidienne

Séminaire « Mémoires d’Indochine » 2017 : séance 4

Année universitaire 2017-2018 / Master Asie Orientale Contemporaine (ASIOC) / Semestre 1

ENS de Lyon / Sciences Po Lyon

Mémoires d’Indochine :

Récits de vie, histoire et littérature : connexions et déconnexions

Vendeuses de journaux à Hô Chi Minh-Ville. Photo FG 2010

★ ★ ★

Vivre sous le régime communiste

Séance 4 : mercredi 11 octobre 2017 – salle D4.070 (IAO)

Avec la littérature du Renouveau (Dôi Moi), une nouvelle vision de la société vietnamienne s’affiche. La vie quotidienne sous le régime communiste est décrite dans tous ses bouleversements. La vie sentimentale, la misère, le mensonge, la cupidité mais aussi les espoirs, les couleurs et les odeurs sont dévoilés à un nouveau lectorat à la recherche de vérité. Les rapports humains sont  décrits dans leur complexité et non plus selon les canons de l’idéologie officielle (héroïsme, abnégation ou sacrifice). L’individu donne une nouvelle image du collectif. On assiste à un dépassement de l’embrigadement politique, à une remise en cause du contrôle social. Les possibilités d’émancipation par la pensée ou par l’argent se multiplient et bouscule la vieille garde qu’incarne « le général à la retraite ».

Sources mobilisées :

  • Duong Thu Huong, Histoire d’amour racontée avant l’aube, La Tour d’Aigues, Editions de l’Aube, L’Aube poche, 2001, p. 86-98.
  • Nguyen Huy Thiep, « Un général à la retraite », dans Un général à la retraite, La Tour d’Aigues, Editions de l’Aube, « Regards croisés », 1990, p. 19-47.
  • Ta Duy Anh, « Uné épidémie diabolique », dans Terre des éphémères, Arles, Philippe Picquier, Picquier poche, 1997, p. 63-80.

Image « à la une » : Rue Lê Duân à Hanoi © Marcelino Truong

Dịu-Hương Nguyễn – “Eve of Destruction: A Social History of Vietnam’s Royal City, 1957-1967” [PhD]

[ndlr] Annonce de la soutenance de thèse (PhD) de Dịu-Hương Nguyễn sur l’histoire sociale de Huê, l’ancienne ville impériale, en temps de guerre. Résumé de Christoph Giebel sur ce travail qu’il a dirigé. Nous le remercions pour son aimable autorisation pour la publication de cette annonce.

Dr Diu-Huong Nguyen © 2017

With great pleasure I’d like to announce that Dịu-Hương Nguyễn successfully defended her dissertation last week at the University of Washington in Seattle and earned a PhD degree in History with a specialization in modern Viet Nam. Her dissertation is titled “Eve of Destruction: A Social History of Vietnam’s Royal City, 1957-1967” and captures Huế and its residents in the decade between the founding of the University of Huế and the city’s near-total destruction in early 1968. With great sensitivity and attention to detail, Hương Nguyễn is able to recreate in evocative ways the habits of life in Huế, its citizens’ quotidian interactions, activities, and concerns, the mentalité of the times, even the sounds and smells of street life in this former royal city renowned for its tranquility, pastoral ambience, and measured rhythm of public life. While the years 1957-1962 were marked by increasing urbanization and a renewed cultural and intellectual scene, the religious and political upheavals of 1963 rocked the city, and during 1964-1967, war and civil strife cast ominous clouds and crept ever closer to the city.

Hương Nguyễn’s dissertation focuses our attention on several critically understudied areas in the field: on Central Viet Nam and Huế in their own right, on social history and urban transformations, and on Vietnamese human experiences and the voices of ordinary people at a time of violent conflict. It is an important, timely corrective to the still dominant top-down approaches to Viet Nam at war, with their overwhelming emphasis on political and military affairs and their habitual employment of simplistic regional, political and ideological binaries, holdouts from the Cold War. In this dissertation, pre-1968 Huế and its inhabitants reappear in their rich multiplicity and local specificity that have long defied cooptation by any larger claim of the powerful.

Admirably researched under sometimes challenging circumstances, the dissertation is based on materials found in the Provincial Archives of Huế, Viet Nam’s National Archives II and III, multiple media and literary sources, as well as published memoirs and a host of interviews of current and former residents of Huế conducted on three continents. Hương Nguyễn’s doctoral committee at UW comprised Professors Laurie Sears, Raymond Jonas, Miriam Kahn, and Christoph Giebel (chair).  Professors Nguyễn Quang Ngọc and Phạm Hồng Tung at VNU’s History Department and William Frederick at Ohio University’s Southeast Asia Program provided earlier guidance as well. The completion of the dissertation was supported by a prestigious Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies fellowship.  Congratulations, Dr. Nguyễn Dịu-Hương!

C. Giebel

UW-Seattle, USA

Image « à la une » : Vue d’une rue animée de Huê dans les années 1950 (Sontrung’s Blog).

Vietnam Update: The Politics of Life – Call for Papers

[ndlr] Appel à communications.


2017 Vietnam Update: The Politics of Life

20-21 November 2017

Australian National University, Canberra

Vietnamese people often tell their foreign visitors that Vietnam is the most secure place in the world. The country has no terrorists, no political disorder, and the police are second to none. Decades of devastating warfare are long-past. Poverty is declining and incomes are rising in a region with good economic prospects. People in Vietnam appear to fling themselves at life’s everyday challenges with intensity and no little optimism.

But Vietnamese today are questioning ends and means, particularly as they relate to human security; they thirst for transparency and reliable ways to assert control over life. In the country and the city, in material, ideological and psychological realms, and at local, national and regional scales, the ability to feel secure is slipping away. This leads to high system maintenance costs and exhaustion as people exert themselves to amass the means and the trust they require to obtain existential security. Increasingly, questions are being asked as to whether life might be lived in a better way.

This Vietnam Update is dedicated to exploring the politics of life in Vietnam. The organisers call for original research papers that address the following sets of questions:

  1. For many Vietnamese, the most significant risks to life come from their own region as neighbours stake claims and leverage power asymmetries in ways perceived to be detrimental to the very existence of the country. Doubts about co-ordinating mutual security through ASEAN co-exist with concerns about the merits of rapprochement with America. Preoccupations with China manifest in anxieties about encirclement, infiltration, collusion, manipulation and incitement. How are such anxieties given voice and how does the government respond? Online criticisms and protests by activists are met with repression, but throughout the country – both within the government and beyond  – debate rages about how to secure the nation. One of the deepest questions is: who is to be trusted with the nation’s security?
  2. The recent censure and demotion of high level leaders for misconduct or poor performance attests to the openly competitive nature of political power. Party leaders continue to warn about the threats posed by ideological and moral degradation, but are there indications that leaders are being selected according to new standards of meritocratic governance? It has become conventional to tie political outcomes to factional power struggles or a contest over the spoils of patronage but to what extent does politics represent a contest between alternative visions for how the country should be governed and how life is to be lived?
  3. Capitalist market relations are central to gaining access to basic life needs formerly obtained through government programs, state enterprises and co-operatives, or via family, community or customary economies. Market logics influence the supply of housing, land, food, healthcare and education, and most government services attract formal or informal user fees. The pursuit of market efficiencies is linked to precarious livelihoods, indebtedness, and widening social disparities. How are such processes experienced and debated within Vietnamese society? Are there attempts to push back against or mitigate the commoditisation of life?
  4. Technology, industry, science and new production and exchange systems have unleashed material plenty and improved life for tens of millions of people. However, doubts about the benefits of headlong modernisation appear in concerns about the harm done by chemical effluents, carcinogens, pesticides and unsafe food, along with urban expansion, traffic chaos and unsafe workplaces. Agrarian intensification, agricultural commoditisation and land concentration have increased productivity but also engender livelihood insecurities and pose existential threats to rural communities and customary ways of life. In what ways are citizens suturing gaps and controlling such risks through mutual assistance, security from below, or deliberative modes of living and being?
  5. For a number of Vietnamese, the material, spiritual and psychological strains of modern life are such that a retreat into simpler modes of living, equated with the past, offers an appealing alternative. At the same time, tradition is blamed for ills as diverse as corruption, excessive drinking, age, gender and ethnic hierarchies, and doctrinaire thinking. As youths study abroad and gain exposure to the cultures of the world, many are led to wonder: what values and institutions work? Do Vietnamese need a state religion, a prescribed traditional or ‘Western’ culture, civics lessons, or democracy to have the means to obtain security and hold each-other to account?
  6. One of the most intriguing developments in the politics of life come from networks of activists who use media, community affiliations and ties to government insiders and resources to vocally and persistently oppose official development projects, land confiscations and foreign investments considered harmful to human wellbeing. Recent actions range from social media campaigns to sit-ins, flash demonstrations, and the capture of public officials by frustrated villagers. In this workshop we are interested to explore whether the politics of material security represents a singular domain in which citizens may significantly oppose or influence government decisions and development directions through engaging in overt political action perhaps in ways not seen previously in Vietnam.

The organisers are seeking proposals for papers on these themes to be presented at a conference to be held at the ANU, Canberra on 20-21 November 2017.

Proposal Submission:
Interested contributors should send their proposals and a one page CV to Philip Taylor by 20 June 2017. Email:

Each proposal should be no longer than 600 words. The proposal should outline how the paper relates to the issues highlighted in the above sets of questions and the kind of research the paper will be based on. Preference will be given to papers that promise a rich analysis and have an interdisciplinary dimension. The conference organisers will then decide which proposals to accept. We will then extend invitations to the authors of the selected proposals to prepare and present their papers to the conference. The organisers also reserve the right to solicit papers, if necessary, from individuals who did not submit proposals.

Funding for travel and accommodation is available and details will be discussed later with each paper presenter.

Paper Specifications:
The paper itself should be submitted 30 days before the date of the conference.

The paper should not exceed 10,000 words and it should include appropriate bibliography and citations. Each paper should include an abstract of 250 words.

Presentation and Publication:
We envisage about twelve paper presentations during a two day workshop in Canberra on 20-21 November 2017. At the Update each author will have approximately 40 minutes to summarise what her/his paper argues and the evidence used.

The conference will also include presentations about recent political and economic developments in Vietnam.

Organisers request the right of first refusal with regards to publishing the accepted papers, which may be included, subject to any necessary revisions to meet publication requirements, in a refereed book or journal collection that we hope will be published within a year of the conference.

For more information on this Vietnam Update theme or questions about paper proposals please contact Philip Taylor (

Vietnam Update Committee: Huong Le Thu; Phuc To; Ashley Carruthers; Kim Huynh; David Marr; Tana Li; Benedict Kerkvliet; Sango Mahanty.

Changing Lives in Laos: Society, Politics, and Culture in a Post-Socialist State [parution]

[ndlr] Parution d’une nouvelle publication sur le Laos contemporain sous la direction de Vatthana Pholsena et Vanina Bouté. Présentation de l’éditeur.

Changing Lives in Laos:

Society, Politics, and Culture in a Post-Socialist State

Edited by Vanina Bouté and Vatthana Pholsena

Changes in the character of the political regime in Laos after 2000, a massive influx of foreign investment, and disruptions to rural life arising from improved communications and new forms of mobility within and across the borders have produced a major transformation across the country. Witnessing these changes, a group of scholars carried out studies that document the rise of a new social, cultural and economic order. The contributions to this volume draw on original fieldwork materials and unpublished sources, and provide fresh analyses of topics ranging from the structures of power to the politics of territoriality and new forms of sociability in emerging urban spaces.

« In Changing Lives in Laos, Vanina Bouté and Vatthana Pholsena have assembled an invaluable collection of papers on Laos by key established and emerging scholars of the country. While Laos remains under-studied compared to most of the region, these chapters show an increasingly thorough engagement with people and places and a better understanding of the texture of transition and transformation. »
Jonathan Rigg, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore

« This new book on Laos, edited by two leading specialists on this country, features articles by a new generation of historians, anthropologists, geographers and political scientists. Studying state formation, new economic trends, and issues such as the cultural integration of ethnic minorities and rural migration, this interesting book brilliantly demonstrates how in less than fifty years Lao society has been deeply transformed. »
Yves Goudineau, Director of the French School of Asian Studies (EFEO), Chair in Comparative Anthropology of Southeast Asia (Paris)


List of Illustrations
1. Introduction
Vanina Bouté and Vatthana Pholsena

2. The History and Evolution of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party
Martin Rathie
3. Shaping the National Topography: The Party-State, National Imageries, and Questions of Political Authority in Lao PDR
Oliver Tappe
4. ‘Special Operation Pagoda’: Buddhism, Covert Operations, and the Politics of Religious Subversion in Cold-War Laos (1957-60)
Patrice Ladwig
5. War Generation: Youth Mobilization and Socialization in Revolutionary Laos
Vatthana Pholsena
6. Socialist Pathways of Education: The Lao in East Germany
Nicole Reichert

7. The Poltical Ecology of Upland/Lowland Relationships in Laos since 1975
Olivier Évrard and Ian G. Baird
8. The New ‘New Battlefield’: Capitalizing Security in Laos’ Agribusiness Landscape
Michael B. Dwyer
9. Reaching the Cities: New Forms of Network and Social Differentiation in Northern Laos
Vanina Bouté

10. Ethnic Belonging in Laos: A Politico-Historical Perspective
Grégoire Schlemmer
11. Piglets Are Buffaloes: Buddhification and the Reduction of Sacrifices on the Boloven Plateau
Guido Sprenger
12. Rubber’s Affective Economies: Seeding a Social Landscape in Northwest Laos
Chris Lyttleton and Yunxia Li

13. Migration and Mobility in Laos
Sverre Molland
14. Patterns and Consequences of Undocumented Migration from Lao PDR to Thailand
Kabmanivanh Phouxay
15. Textiles Economy in Laos: From the Household to the World
Annabel Vallard


Source : NUS Press

Mei Feng Mok: « Negotiating Community and Nation in Chợ Lớn: Nation-building, Community-building and Transnationalism in Everyday Life during the Republic of Việt Nam, 1955-1975 »

[ndlr] Présentation par Christoph Giebel de la thèse de Mei Feng Mok sur Cholon et sa population sous la République du Viêt-Nam de 1955 à 1975. Chronique publiée avec l’autorisation de son auteur.

Ref.: Mei Feng Mok, Negotiating Community and Nation in Chợ Lớn: Nation-building, Community-building and Transnationalism in Everyday Life during the Republic of Việt Nam, 1955-1975, University of Washington, History, PhD thesis, Chair: Christoph Giebel, 2016.

It is with great pleasure that I announce to VSG a newly minted Ph.D.

On 8 June 2016, at the History department of the University of Washington, Seattle (USA), Mei Feng Mok successfully defended her dissertation « Negotiating Community and Nation in Chợ Lớn: Nation-building, Community-building and Transnationalism in Everyday Life during the Republic of Việt Nam, 1955-1975. »  The dissertation is based on a variety of sources in Vietnamese, Chinese, French and English, most notably rare and rarely-used Chinese-language newspapers from Chợ Lớn.  Examiners were Laurie Sears, Sasha Welland, and Christoph Giebel (chair);  Moon-ho Jung and Madeleine Dong added guidance at earlier stages of research.  Before coming to UW, Mei Feng Mok earned an MA in History at the National University of Singapore (NUS) with Bruce Lockhart.

Focusing on social life ordered around markets, native place congregations and temples, schools and work places, hospitals and medicinal halls, sports clubs and restaurants, private homes and public leisure places, Mei Feng deftly provides a rich tapestry of Chợ Lớn’s Chinese community, particularly its middle class, and the changes it underwent over time.  She situates Chợ Lớn in multiple relations: as one center of greater Sài Gòn, economic conduit for the southern Vietnamese hinterlands, socio-cultural hub for Chinese communities throughout Indochina, nodal point in transnational Chinese exchanges linking San Francisco, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore, and contributor to Cold War-era and Taiwan/ROC-centric sinophonic articulations.

The dissertation is organized into four main chapters:  

  • 1) Chợ Lớn’s built environment and human geography, its lived and shared spaces;  
  • 2) Education from kindergarten to adult learning between local and transnational networks and the state;  
  • 3) Sports and competitions over disciplining bodies and controlling social time;  
  • and 4) young adulthood, women in the public sphere, and socialization into multi-layered networks through marriage, work, philanthropy, and other ways of accumulating and spending social capital. 

Here Chợ Lớn emerges as a site of contestation between diasporic community interests, a « nation-building » Vietnamese state, and the transnational Chinese world not easily negotiated by individuals and further complicated by war, violence, and ideological divisions.

 Mei Feng’s work is bound to make significant contributions to a variety of fields:  e.g., to social history (and here everyday urban life) of which Việt Nam Studies are still desperately starved, to the growing body of studies on the Republic of Việt Nam (and a rare one where the RVN simply « is » rather than « fails »), to conversations about diasporic/minority communities with multiple identities in Việt Nam (and elsewhere), and to our knowledge of overseas Chinese and the dynamic currents in the Cold War-era transnational Chinese world.  Mei Feng will now take her talents and work to a Post-doctoral Fellowship position at the Asia Research Institute (ARI) in Singapore (NUS) where this important and exciting dissertation may well turn into a marvelous book.

Congratulations to Dr. Mei Feng Mok!
C. Giebel


Source : VSG

Image « à la une » : Le marché de Binh Tây à Cholon en 1960.

« Vivre au Kampuchéa démocratique » – Exposition 16-28/11/2015

[ndlr] Dernier jour d’exposition dans le cadre du 40e anniversaire de la création de l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), les SHS face aux images d’archives.

« Vivre au Kampuchéa démocratique »

Une exposition photographique organisée et légendée par Adriana Escobar et Andrea Morales Acero (CESPRA)

Du 16 au 28 novembre 2015

Dans l’atrium du « France », 190-198 avenue de France, 75013 Paris.

1975: tandis qu’à Paris naissait l’EHESS, au Cambodge, les Khmers rouges arrivaient au pouvoir. Quarante années plus tard, Andrea Morales Acero et Adriana Escobar, deux doctorantes du CESPRA, mettent en lumière vingt-trois photographies d’archive qui montrent une partie du quotidien des Cambodgiens durant le régime du Kampuchéa démocratique. Dans le cadre du 40e anniversaire de l’EHESS, elles présentent ces clichés dans l’atrium du France, jusqu’au 28 novembre prochain, à travers une exposition qu’elles ont intitulée « Vivre au Kampuchéa démocratique ». Là où un œil non averti voit des photographies de propagande qui vantent les travaux des champs et le mariage heureux, les chercheuses décryptent les changements, souvent extrêmement violents, imposés à la société cambodgienne et à son mode de vie, que ces photos trahissent malgré elles. Sont ainsi posées la question de l’utilisation des photographies comme source d’information en histoire et en science politique, et celle de l’impératif méthodologique de leur recontextualisation.

Lire l’entretien de Stéphane Dennery avec Andrea Morales Acero et Adriana Escobar : EHESS

Scènes de la vie en Chine Les figurines de bois de T’ou Sè Wè [parution]

Scènes de la vie en Chine

Les figurines de bois de T’ou Sè Wè

Christian Henriot et Ivan Macaux


Qui n’a jamais rêvé de découvrir une malle au trésor ?

Lors de l’hiver 2011, le journaliste Ivan Macaux découvre dans un grenier une malle en bois ayant appartenu à son arrière-grand-père, l’Amiral Jules Le Bigot. Ce dernier, commandant en chef des Forces navales d’Extrême-Orient, est envoyé à Shanghai en 1937. Alors qu’il vient d’arrimer son navire, le Lamotte Picquet, face à la Concession française, l’Amiral est confronté à une ville mise à feux et à sang, par les troupes japonaises. A l’issue de trois mois de combats violents l’armée chinoise se résout à abandonner la ville. Jules Le Bigot s’oppose au commandement japonais et ordonne à la Marine française d’assurer la sécurité de la Concession française et du complexe catholique de Xujiahui au sud de Shanghai.

Pour le remercier, l’orphelinat jésuite de T’ou Sè Wè lui a offert cette malle. Que contient-elle ? Une collection unique au monde de 109 figurines, de 8 à 10 cm de hauteur, sculptées à la main dans du bois de fusain, puis peintes et décorées. Un travail d’une finesse extrême. Chacune de ces figurines est dotée d’une expression particulière et représente une scène de la vie quotidienne chinoise. Notables, paysans, religieux, colporteurs ou artisans, un père et son fils faisant voler un cerf-volant, des joueurs de mah-jong, mais aussi des supplices chinois complètent cette remarquable fresque populaire.

En plus d’être une véritable épopée, l’histoire de ces figurines est d’une grande valeur artistique, historique et anthropologique. La malle de Jules Le Bigot est un trésor du patrimoine franco-chinois.

Le livre, illustré, commenté, en version bilingue chinois-français, est né de la rencontre entre Ivan Macaux (arrière-petit-fils de l’Amiral, journaliste et romancier) et Christian Henriot (Membre de l’Institut Universitaire de France, professeur à l’Université de Lyon 2, membre de l’Institut d’Asie Orientale, auteur d’une douzaine d’ouvrages sur la Chine moderne, concepteur de « Virtual Shanghai », plateforme d’histoire numérique).

ISBN : 978-2-84990-3735

28 €

Source : Éditions des Équateurs

Lan Cao, The lotus and the storm, a novel [parution 2014]

[ndlr] Paru au mois d’août 2014, nous signalons le roman, en partie autobiographique, de Lan Cao, fille du général Cao Van Vien. Présentation de l’éditeur et entretiens avec Hà Giang du journal Nguoi Viet et la chaîne LA Review Books.


Half a century after it began, the Vietnam War still has a hold on our national psyche. Lan Cao’s now-classic debut, Monkey Bridge, won her wide renown for “connecting . . . the opposite realities of Vietnam and America” (Isabel Allende). In her triumphant new novel, Cao transports readers back to the war, illuminating events central to twentieth-century history through the lives of one Vietnamese American family.

Minh is a former South Vietnamese commander of the airborne brigade who left his homeland with his daughter, Mai. During the war, their lives became entwined with those of two Americans: James, a soldier, and Cliff, a military adviser. Forty years later, Minh and his daughter Mai live in a close-knit Vietnamese immigrant community in suburban Virginia. As Mai discovers a series of devastating truths about what really happened to her family during those years, Minh reflects upon his life and the story of love and betrayal that has remained locked in his heart since the fall of Saigon.

Voir aussi :


  * * *

Réf.: Lan Cao, The lotus and the storm, a novel, New York : Viking Books, 2014. ISBN: 978-0670016921