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

CSEAS hosted a two-day symposium on October 17-18 on the experience of nation-building in South Vietnam before 1975.

Scholarship on the history of the Republic of Vietnam 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 presented Vietnamese efforts in both military and other areas of nation-building with panels of South Vietnamese officials, politicians, academics, and journalists who were active participants in historical developments, paired with panels of young scholars who placed the testimonies of participants in their contexts and evaluated their significance.

Participants included Col. Tran Minh Cong (commandant of the National Police Academy, 1969-75), Nguyen Duc Cuong (Minister of Trade and Industry, 1973-74), actress Kieu Chinh, Pham Kim Ngoc (Minister of Economy, ), Hoang Duc Nha (Presidential Advisor, Minister of Mass Mobilization and Open Arms, 1973-74), the writer Nha Ca, Dr. Nguyen Huu Phuoc (National Director of Elementary Teacher Training & In-Service Training, Ministry of Education), Lt. Col. Bui Quyen (Deputy Commander, Third Airborne Brigade), journalist Vu Thanh Thuy, Dr. Sean Fear (Dartmouth College), Dr. Simon Toner (Columbia University), Prof. Van Nguyen-Marshall (Trent University), and Prof. John Schafer (Humboldt State University).

Organizers: Peter Zinoman, Professor of History, UC Berkeley; Tuong Vu, Professor of Political Science, University of Oregon; Nu-Anh Tran, Assistant Professor of History, University of Connecticut

Symposium on the legacy of Prof. Benedict Anderson

CSEAS hosted a special symposium on the work and legacy of the late Prof. Benedict Anderson on Friday, February 19, with presentations by UC Berkeley professors and others, including several former students. The audio recordings for most of the symposium presentations are now available online. Although known most widely for his book Imagined Communities, Anderson, who died in Indonesia in December 2015, is a seminal figure in the field of Southeast Asian Studies, whose works on Indonesia, on Thailand and on the Philippines are of particular note. Prof. Anderson was instrumental in developing and guiding the renowned Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University, and was the advisor and mentor for many students at Cornell over the years, including CSEAS Chair Pheng Cheah, Vice Chair Sarah Maxim and CSEAS core faculty Nancy Lee Peluso. Some tributes from UC Berkeley faculty, including CSEAS core faculty, are available on this special page of our website.

Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) awards for 2016-17

CSEAS awarded FLAS fellowships for 2016-17 to incoming graduate students Jonathan Baldoza (Asian Studies) to study Indonesian and Yasmin Golan (Folklore) to study Vietnamese and to continuing graduate students Tomas Leon (Environmental Health Sciences) to study Thai, Michelle Phillips (Sociology) and Caleb Caswell-Levy (Integrative Biology) to study Indonesian and Phung Su (Sociology) to study Vietnamese. Blair Dishon (Linguistics/South & Southeast Asian Studies) received a FLAS undergraduate fellowship to study Thai.

As a U.S. Department of Education Title VI-funded National Resource Center, CSEAS administers Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for students who plan to study a Southeast Asian language during the academic year or summer. Academic year FLAS fellowships for graduate students cover tuition fees and provide a stipend of $15,000. Undergraduate fellowships provide a $10,000 award towards tuition and a $5,000 stipend.

UC Berkeley-UCLA Southeast Asian Studies Conference, April 22-23, 2016

The Center for Southeast Asia Studies at UC Berkeley and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at UCLA held a conference on the theme Making Southeast Asian Cultures: From Region to World from April 22-23, 2016 on the UC Berkeley campus. The conference sought to reopen the question of Southeast Asia’s culture both by looking back at the history of the region and at the dynamic transnational processes at work in contemporary globalization that actively make Southeast Asian cultures today. A special priority of the conference was to highlight current research on Southeast Asia being carried out in the University of California and California State University systems. The keynote speaker was Prof. Melani Budianta from the University of Indonesia. Please see the conference website for the program.