Session Abstract: This panel showcases the works of young and veteran historians working on different periods of Vietnam’s Cold War to build upon a third direction of research on modern Vietnam that challenge old orthodoxies and paradigms recently exemplified by Sophie Quinn-Judge’s 2017 book, The Third Force in the Vietnam War, which shines the spotlight upon the many non-state and oppositional actors on all sides of the Vietnam War who fought for peace. Edward Miller’s work tells the story of anti-Communist guerrilla warriors of southern Vietnam, who operated independently with their own agendas and aspirations despite receiving training and supplies from the CIA and the RVN government. Morragotwong Phumplab explores the little-known negotiations between the Thai Red Cross and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam government over the repatriation of refugees in the late 1950s.Alvin Bui retraces the footsteps of a Catholic missionary and his advocacy for the ethnic Chinese community in the Republic of Vietnam, a group with ostensible citizenship via bloodline from the Republic of China. And Hoang Minh Vu gives overdue recognition to the many contributions of the overseas Vietnamese community, many of whose members had fled Vietnam as refugees, in the success of the 1980s-1990s đổi mới (renovation) reforms in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Together, these papers problematize the traditional North-South dichotomy in the study of Vietnamese history, itself a relic of Cold War divisions, and nudge the historiography in the direction of a less state-centric and more nuanced account of Vietnam’s Long Cold War.
Paper Presenter: Edward Miller – Dartmouth College
Paper Presenter: Morragotwong Phumplab – National University of Singapore
Paper Presenter: Alvin K. Bui – University of Washington
Paper Presenter: Hoang Vu – Cornell University