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Coming Out of Oneness: The Diverse Discourses of Vietnamese Identity

Sun, June 26, 1:00 to 2:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: BF, 010

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


National identity has been a central theme in Vietnamese creative works and writings about itself as nation. This panel seeks to intertwine two themes on the study of national identity in the case of modern Vietnam to understand the position of the nation in the dynamic globalization. We question the common belief that the modern nation of Vietnam has been thrived on the basis of its unified culture and geography. Meanwhile, we argue that the construction of Vietnamese identity since the Second World War has involved more than one agent, requiring us to acknowledge the manifold construction of Vietnamese self-identification. Nguyễn Phúc Anh examines recent Vietnamese authorities’ manipulation of the progenitor myths, the Hùng kings’ legend, and he argues that this “politics of identity” causes the assimilation of many minorities’ cultures into the majority’s or the Kinh people’s culture. Alternatively, William Noseworthy’s paper dissects various means that the Cham community of Vietnam has sought for in order to protect their rare cultural identity from globalization. By analyzing the interaction between political power and national identities, Nguyễn Hoàng Quí Hà discusses how both North and South Vietnam during wartime utilized images of women on screen as a signifier of national culture to uphold different ideals of national identities. Hoàng Cẩm Giang talks about the different aesthetic ways that Vietnamese overseas filmmakers have employed to interpret the traditional national identity. Phạm Xuân Thạch and Lư Thị Thanh Lê explore the discursive discourse of national identity in post-1975 Vietnamese overseas writers’ creative writings.

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