Conference Theme

Beyond Dichotomies: Vietnam from Multiple Perspectives

2018 marks a milestone for Engaging With Vietnam – its 10th anniversary. We would like to invite you to the 10th Engaging With Vietnam Conference to experience another stimulating and enriching gathering that will take place all the way from Ho Chi Minh City to the city of Phan Thiet in Binh Thuan, a coastal province in Central Vietnam. A ride on an express train between the two cities promises a pleasant trip with amazing scenery that will stimulate both reflections and conversations. We are very delighted to have this opportunity to continue to tour Vietnam with the 10th conference participants. The conference venue at the University of Phan Thiet is close to the coast. How wonderful to engage in meaningful and rigorous academic sessions while being refreshed with ocean breezes and natural scenery!

To continue its interdisciplinary engagement, this 10th conference focuses in particular on dichotomies, the dichotomization of knowledge, and the discursive constructions of dichotomies in Vietnam-related knowledge production and scholarship. Dichotomies and dichotomization often come in the form of ‘Self and Other’ and/or in pairs of contrasts, such as ‘global – local’, ‘traditional – modern’, ‘Western values – Asian values’, ‘Vietnamese women – foreign women’, ‘nationalism – cosmopolitanism’, ‘developed – underdeveloped/developing’, ‘urban – rural’, ‘privileged – disadvantaged’, ‘active – passive’, ‘critical thinking – passive and rote learning’, ‘Global North – Global South’, and ‘Vietnam – ASEAN’, etc.

Considering Vietnam in all its possible relations with itself and the world and the meanings underlying such relations, the 10th Engaging With Vietnam Conference invites submissions for parallel sessions from scholars and researchers in all academic disciplines, think tanks, NGOs, and policy-making entities as well as (performing) artists. Your proposal submissions can be for individual academic paper presentations, roundtable discussion sessions and panels as well as other modes of presentations including poster displays, workshops, film screening, performances, and exhibitions that engage and interrogate the following and other related questions:

• Why, how and in what ways are dichotomies dominant and sustained in knowledge production in general and knowledge production about Vietnam in particular?

• How do dichotomies and dichotomizations travel across disciplines, territories, worldviews and systems of knowledge?

• How are dichotomies constructed?

• What dichotomies are often used to create knowledge about Vietnam? How are they used? By whom? For whom? Who and what do these dichotomies serve? How do they affect policy making, tourism, education, and the society at large?

• How do dichotomies create stereotypes, ‘truths’, and ‘Truths’? What ‘truth’ and ‘Truths’ about Vietnam have been constructed via dichotomies?

• What dichotomies and their associated repertoire of meanings contradict one another in producing knowledge about Vietnam?

• What have been the grand dichotomies that overarch knowledge production about Vietnam?

• What are the discursive constructions of these dichotomies? Are these dichotomies used in the same way across time and contexts? How do they influence the ways one criticizes, debates, compares, makes an argument, and makes reference regarding anything ‘Vietnam’ and all of its ‘Others’?

• Is there always a readily available audience for certain dichotomies? Can an audience also be created? How?

• In what ways can dichotomies and dichotomization be helpful? Can they be understood as being fluid, contingent, crossing, and subject to reconstruction? What are their limitations and implications?

Warmest Regards,

Founders of Engaging With Vietnam:

Phan Le Ha & Liam C. Kelley (Co-Founders of Engaging With Vietnam, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA & Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei)

Conference Co-Convenors:

Phan Le Ha & Liam C. Kelley (University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA & Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei), Ngo Thi Phuong Lan (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City), Vo Khac Thuong (University of Phan Thiet), and Tran Kien (School of Law, Vietnam National University, Hanoi)

Key Conference Organizing Committee Members:

Tran Anh Tien (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City), Duong Ngoc Thang (University of Phan Thiet), Le Thuy Linh (Engaging With Vietnam), Chau Duong Quang (SUNY Albany, USA and Engaging With Vietnam), and associates.