“Vietnamese Colonial Republican: The Political Vision of Vu Trong Phung”
Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Monday, 6 April 2015, 4 p.m.
Location: 311 Glasscock Building
Professor Peter Zinoman is one of the most notable scholars of colonial Southeast Asia in general and Indochina in particular. He is one of the founders of the Journal of Vietnamese Studies (University of California Press). He served as director of the Southeast Asian program at Berkeley.
His first monograph The Colonial Bastille: A History of Imprisonment in Vietnam, 1862-1940 (U of California Press, 2001) focuses on prisons as social institutions and on political life in prison. It received major prizes from the Association of Asian Studies. After that he co-translated a satirical novel titled Dumb Luck by the famous writer Vu Trong Phung that deals with the influence of colonization on Vietnamese cultural and social life in the late 1920s and 1930s.
Last year Professor Zinoman published his second monograph, Vietnamese Colonial Republicanism: The Political Vision of Vu Trong Phung, which explores at length the life and works of Vu Trong Phung, one of Vietnam’s greatest and most controversial 20th century writers who died tragically in 1939 at the age of 28. Vu Trong Phung is known for a remarkable collection of politically provocative novels and sensational works of non-fiction reportage that were banned by the communist state from 1960 to 1986. He advocated a localized republican tradition and was opposed to colonialism, capitalism, and communism. This book uses Phung as a case study in how French Republicanism spread among colonized people and was understood by them. According to a reviewer of this book, “it is the best single study of a major twentieth-century Southeast Asian writer and his critical relationship to both the colonial and postcolonial eras known to me. It offers an unsurpassed discussion of the complexities of colonial modernity and their troubled Cold War aftermath.”
Lecture co-sponsored by:
Department of History
Department of International Studies
Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research