The Rise and Fall of Vietnamese Reform Communism, 1956-1960

By Peter B. Zinoman


Peter B. Zinoman is a Southeast Asian historian at the University of California, Berkeley, and mainly focuses on the history of Vietnam and uses Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan as cross-references. Recently, he has paid special attention to the history of colonial history, nationalism, communism, war, violence, naturalization, and social systems. Changes and other issues. In recent years, Zinoman has published many academic books in the history of Southeast Asia, including the Vietnamese Colonial Republican: The Political Vision of Vu Trong Phung, The Colonial Bastille: A History of Imprisonment in Vietnam, 1862-1940.

Zinoman expresses about is Vietnam reform communism in 1950. In 1950, in the Viet Minh’s war against the French. Ho Chi Minh traveled to China to sign a military aid agreement with the new communist leadership in Beijing. with the introduction of Chinese military and came the massive influx of Chinese-styled institutions, reforms, and advisors. This campaign was launched to study the Chinese revolutionary experience. Later Nhân Văăn-Giai Phẩm (NVGP), a political protest movement led by intellectuals that coalesced in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1956. The article reassesses the development of the movement and the internal composition of its leadership. Through a close reading of the major publications produced by NVGP, the article takes issue with the conventional view, which characterizes the movement as a robust grouping of political dissidents against the party-state. The article shows that NVGP should, in fact, be seen as a relatively timid strain of the revisionist or reform Communist movements that emerged throughout the Communist world.

To understand Vietnam’s entire political ideology and to understand how the local response to war, reception, freedom and democracy, and communist thinking, from the perspective of social criticism to the global/local people, How emotions respond to the war? itself and the changes it brings, and even resist and rebel, and how these conditions affect the political and economic situation in East and Southeast Asia as a whole. In thinking about how various kinds of communism (communism, liberalism, nationalism, etc.) are forced into Vietnam and neighboring countries by means of war, how do they converge with the earth or create differences, variability, or new reactions? In this way, the experience of special communist society for the development of East Asia and the Southeast Asian region undoubtedly released considerable critical thinking energy.

literature with specific languages always has the superpower to build a wall between humans and the real world. In Viet Nam Socialist realism literature, we can see a system of language that has a big effect and still expand all this society. It creates an illusive world (victory, nation, heaven, hero, leader…) to forbid and destroy other voices (sadness, individual, daily life) We can name this system of language that is discourse (颂歌演言) or strategic language. Everybody is prisoned by this invisible cage.


Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society Summer School “Gandhism and Maoism”. By Ashish Rajadhyaksha


Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society Summer School “Gandhism and Maoism” – 1.

By Ashish Rajadhyaksha

on July 4th

Ashish Rajadhyaksha is the Director and Senior Fellow at Centre for the Study of Culture & Society, Bangalore. He was involved in the curation of various international film festivals and has published multiple books and produce extensive essays on cinema, technology, and democracy.

In the topic of “Gandhism and Maoism”, Ashish attempted in providing us with critical process of Indian struggle for independence through the lenses of two prominent figures of Indian nationalism and the iconic figures of decolonization; Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

By tracing off retrospectively of their contradictory legacies in the formation of Indian nationalism, from the American Civil Rights movement in the United States to contemporary political struggle and positioning of the Occupy Central in Hong Kong, Gandhism has provided and presents formidable strategies and praxis in the realm of non-violence struggle worldwide. In this, with the emerging demands of the further democratization process, how do we then juxtapose Gandhism to our contemporary democracy?

By interrogating into paradoxical and complex perspectives of Gandhi on the cultures of cinema to the technological advancement experienced by India prior to the Independence in 1947, Ashish provides us with an illuminating point of views in understanding the development of liberal political practices stems and inherited, amongst others from the progressive tradition from various milieu of the societies.

Unraveling the significant contributions of the symbolic politics of everyday lives; through the banning of “modern” clothing, abandonment of examination, the usage of Charkha spinning wheel in opposing the European-made machinery during the pre-independence India, it serves as a vital signifier and structure in contesting the formation of India nationalism.

The utilization of diverse symbolic political and cultural signifier of India nationalism provides us with a critical projection on how the masses are consolidating itself to partake and involve directly in furthering the democratization cause in achieving the cause of Independence.

Of the conviction on how India’s independence not only will affect India tremendously, both Tagore and Gandhi were extrapolating the significance of the struggle to whole world in the realm of intellectual and ideological by rethinking the complexities of colonialism and its contradictions of cancerous ideology of colonialism of which it does not only confine and affect those who were being colonised but also the coloniser themselves.

By putting what they perceive as the contradiction and the ideological roots of the problems, Tagore situating his argument on the need to furthering the question of the political trajectory to move beyond the concept of nation and Gandhi through its consistent critiques in questioning modernity in its most fundamental way. These particular political positioning by both human of great stature then provide us with the foundation that triggers one of the most important 20th centuries modern-classic debate to the questions of nation and modernity.[1]

In probing and problematizing the concept further, it does provide us with the insights in recognizing the certain structure of practice to the intellectual positioning of both; Tagore through his emphasization of organicism and Gandhi on his instrumentalist approach to the intellectual tradition. With the rigorous contrarian perspectives put forward by both thinker, the emergence process of democratization will no longer be the same in the modern day India.

[1] Gandhi, et al. The Mahatma and the Poet: Letters and Debates between Gandhi and Tagore, 1915-1941. National Book Trust, India, 2005.

Asia as Method. By SUN Ge and Yueh-Tsen CHUNG

Unit 3-2: Asia as Method

Instructors:SUN Ge and Yuehtsen CHUNG

Date:  8th July                                    

 In order to introduce Professor Sun Ge’s speech, it is necessary first to describe the history of modern Chinese studies in Japan, that is the problem about ‘’early modern” China (jìnshì) . To put it simply, that is what Professor Sun Ge said ‘‘modernity’’. Unlike the point of view about the inferiority of China, It seems that starting from Yoshimi Takeuchi, China has become a country that the Japanese are longing for, a country of communism which can preserve itself in the colonial era. However, even if Yoshimi Takeuchi praised China quite well, the successor, Mizoguchi Yuzo still believes that he has a European-centered thinking. After all, Yoshimi Takeuchi believes that we must go ahead with “modernity,” though it is a “Chinese mode.” This contempt for China comes from the view that “China lacks modernity.” Contrary to this ‘’misunderstanding’’, Mizoguchi Yuzo began his research on the question about ‘’early modern China” to show that China does not lack modernity. On the contrary, modernity has long appeared in the Song Dynasty, and this is the problem of “automatic production”(內發性) that Mizoguchi Yuzo talked about.

 By omitting the Sun Ge’s introduction about the background of Mizoguchi Yuzo, let us directly address what the Sun Ge’s speech focus on and the text she discussed: China as method. In simple terms, the most important part of Professor Sun Ge’s speech is how Han Studies transformed into China studies. This history will have strong relation with the question of the so-called progress of civilization. According to Professor Sun Ge’s view, Japan first invented the method of kun’yomi to introduce China’s thinking. However, this method of research was later replaced by the so-called Shina studies, and the texts written in modern Chinese are also valued. However, there is a common concept in these two researches: China is a country with no history. What replaces Shina studies is China studies. There are two important points in this studies: modernity and ‘’real’’ China history. However, the important scholar of China Studies, Shimada Kenji still use the concept of West and cannot not clearly figure out so called the internal mechanism of Chinese thinking system. The research of Mizoguchi Yuzo: China as a method, is exactly formed in this kind of background. That is what Professor Sun Ge mentioned ‘’free china studies’’. In other words, ‘’free china studies’’ is a kind of research which face directly the china’s phenomenon without any presupposition.

Finally, I want to ask Professor Sun Ge a question. Mizoguchi Yuzo has clearly used the concept of modernity in another book: The impact of China. This is obviously in contradiction with the free China Studies. How does Professor Sun Ge explain this?

為了介紹孫歌教授的演講,有必要先說明近代日本中國學的概括,也就是中國的「前近代」(近世)的問題。說的再簡單一點就是孫歌教授說的 ‘‘現代性’’不同先前日本中國學歧視的言論,似乎從竹內好開始,中國變成日本憧憬的國度,一個在殖民時代下,能夠保有自身的社會主義國度。但既使竹內好對中國讚譽有加,後繼者溝口雄三仍然認為其有著歐洲中心主義的思考,畢竟竹內好依然認為要往「現代化」前進,雖然是以「中國」的方式。針對這個對中國的歧視來自於「欠缺現代性」的看法,溝口展開他有關中國「前近代」的研究以說明中國並非缺乏現代性,相反的現代性早已出現在宋代,而這也就是溝口所說的「內發性」的問題。

 省略孫歌教授對溝口雄三背景的簡介,讓我們直接切入孫歌教授這次演講的內容及其文本 :作為方法的中國。簡單的說孫歌教授本次演講內容最重要的部分在於漢學轉變為中國學的歷史過程,而這會牽扯到亞洲西化時,所謂文明進步的問題。根據孫歌教授的看法,一開始日本發明了訓讀的方式引介中國的思想。然而這樣的研究方式之後就被所謂的支那學代替,而以現代漢語寫成的著作因而也獲得重視。不過這兩種研究方法中有一個共通的觀念,那就是中國是個沒有歷史的國家。接替支那學的便是戰後中國學。此研究重要的部分有兩點,現代性與重視中國歷史。不過中國學中的島田虔次依然是使用西方的概念以及無法清楚說出所謂中國內在機制。在這樣的脈絡下,就出現的溝口雄三所謂的 :作為方法的中國。這個就是孫歌教授提到的自由中國學的問題,也就是不帶任何預設,直接面對中國現象。

最後筆者想要對孫歌教授提出一個問題。溝口雄三在另一本書中明顯使用了「現代性」 :中國的衝擊。這明顯與自由中國學有所矛盾,對此孫歌教授要如何解釋呢 ?



Leveling the City: The Crisis of Late Liberal Society and the Remaking of Shanghai’s Urban Space, 1927–1958. By Jake Warner


Leveling the City: The Crisis of Late Liberal Society and the Remaking of Shanghai’s Urban Space, 1927–1958

Speaker: Jake Werner

Date: April 22, 2015

In the last ten to fifteen years the research on urbanity has been very descriptive, especially in the US. Therefore Jake Werner tries to incorporate social theory in his research. He focuses on Shanghai in the 1950s and he does so through a re-interpretation of the literature on Shanghai in the 1930s. His goal is to map a trajectory of change from the 1930s to the 1950s in order to understand what
was happening in Shanghai during the 1950s.

The main question is where the Communist party got its ideas from and why they were appealing to such a big part of the electoral.His research starts from 1927 on because in that year the Shanghai massacre took place where the Kuomintang violently supressed the communist Party of China. Before that, Shanghai used to be the centre of Communism in China. Werner talks about the nature of the social crisis in China during the 1930s and 1940s and how reforms in the 1950s resolved this crisis after the Communist Party took power again in 1949.

In the 1930s Shanghai was very modern, a centre of trade and the epitome of Western capitalism.This in sharp contrast with the 1960s when Communism was deeply rooted in society. Why and how did this transition take place? Werner relates the everyday life of the working class to the larger changes taking place in the city. Thus he generates a top-down explanation of this crucial transition.

阿根廷接管工廠運動的歷史與前景 The History and Prospect of Workers’ Self-Management Movement in Argentina. By 萬毓澤  Wan Yu-Ze

阿根廷接管工廠運動的歷史與前景 The History and Prospect of Workers’ Self -Management Movement in Argentina

Speaker: 萬毓澤  Wan Yu-Ze

Date: 2015/04/29

After Argentina’s serious economic crisis in 2001-03, a large number of factories were taken over, and they borrowed a slogan from the Brazilian landless peasant movement, which is: “occupation, resistance, production!” (ocupar, resistir, producir!). Under the taking over and self-management of the workers, enterprises that is recovered by workers (“empresas recuperadas por sus trabajadores (ERT)” regained their track and achieved remarkable success gradually. The movement of taking over the factory ranges from different industries such as food, steel, textiles, plastics, glass, rubber, design, transportation, restaurants, medical industries, and even five-star hotels.

Majority of workers form their cooperatives, with a democratic process in making decisions. Although the movement did not receive the support of the Argentine general trade union, it received the support or sympathy from different community organizations, socialist groups, radical left-wing parties, and scholars. This lecture will briefly introduce the historical background, dynamic, institutional characteristics and challenges faced by Argentina in taking over the movement, and understand it from the broader history of “workers’ control”.

阿根廷2001-03年爆發嚴重經濟危機後,出現大量的接管工廠運動,並從巴西無土地農民運動借來了口號:「佔領、抵抗、生產!」(ocupar, resistir, producir!)。在工人的接管與自治管理下,一家又一家「由工人復甦的企業」(empresas recuperadas por sus trabajadores,ERT)重新步上軌道,取得驚人的成就。接管工廠的運動遍及各產業,如食品、鋼鐵、紡織、塑膠、玻璃、橡膠、設計、運輸、餐廳、醫療產業,甚至包括五星級旅館。

大多數員工組成合作社,以民主討論的方式進行決策。工人的接管工廠運動雖然並未獲得阿根廷總工會的支持,但卻得到許多社區組織、社運團體、激進左翼政黨、學者的支援或同情。這次的演講將簡要介紹阿根廷接管工廠運動的歷史背景、動力、制度特徵、面臨的挑戰,並從更廣闊的「工人控制」(workers’ control)的歷史中來理解阿根廷的接管工廠運動。

Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society Summer School: Modern asian Thought. By Hilmar Farid

Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society Summer School: Modern asian Thought

Speaker: Hilmar Farid

Hilmar Farid is a scholar, historian, and cultural activist from Indonesia. He is a founding member of Jaringan Kerja Budaya, a collective of artists and cultural workers in the early 1990s, and also the Institute of Indonesian Social History in 2000. He taught history and cultural studies at the Jakarta Arts Institute and University of Indonesia for several years. He received his PhD from the National University of Singapore and wrote his thesis on Pramoedya Ananta Toer and the politics of decolonization in Indonesia. He has been an active member of the Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA) and the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society. On 31 December 2015, after a long selection process, he was appointed as the Director General for Culture at the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia under President Joko Widodo’s administration (2015-2019).

In the 3rd Biannual Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society (IACSS) Summer School, in collaboration with the Modern Asian Thought project initiated by Inter-Asia School, that held in Hsinchu, Taiwan (July 1-15, 2014), Hilmar Farid talked about his Oral History Project in Indonesia in addressing issues in “Modern Asian Thought”. His discussion is part of the response to Prof. Nandy’s presentations. In that project, they collects interview of hundreds of former political activist in the 1960s that live in prison for years without trial. The project aimed to collect initial history of their suffering in order to construct alternative version of history. This project was the reflection of 1965 massacre in indonesia, where Indonesian Army accused Communist group (including party, follower, supporter, and etc.) responsible for the death of 6 Army Generals. On October 1965, 6 army generals murdered by a group of army led by Colonel Untung that are communist supporter. Soeharto took over the army leadership and retaliated the death of 6 army generals by scapegoating communist.

The oral history project is to look at back at the memory, not aimed to help them to restore the memory. But collected memory aimed to construct alternative version of history. At the end, he addressed question to audiences, scholar in humanities, and especially to scholars in history; is study of memory possible?


爭奪公共空間 – 社會性藝術的政治實踐 藝術介入與社會批判: 亞際知識對話 Artistic Intervention and Social Critique: A Dialogue in the Inter-Asian Context. By Hong-Bin Zheng

爭奪公共空間-社會性藝術的政治實踐 藝術介入與社會批判:亞際知識對話

Artistic Intervention and Social Critique: A Dialogue in the Inter-Asian Context

Speaker: Zheng Hong-Bin

Date: 8th December 2017

What do you think about arts? Are they aesthetic practices? Perhaps, it may be as social movement or political practices. Any junction between aesthetic practices and political practices? Artisans, as the producer of sensible and sensibility, in the milieu of changing society, is there any special existence for them? Not only the distribution of space, but also its relationship between the audience,  two subjects (arts and people) involved in the conversation what chemical reaction happens?

Zheng Hongbin currently is the curator of Xi’an Art Museum. He has worked at Guangdong Times Museum as the project coordinator. He would like to share about his experience of three art projects that he has curated and organized include: On Practice: the Instruction Nearby (2016), Promised Land: the Park Xing Qing Gong (2016), Co-production (2017), Launch of ‘Resident’ Project (2017)

藝術, 算不算藝術?也可以從這裡當作出發點, 或許會被質疑是這算是公民行動嗎? 那它有何聯繫?主題還是從藝術家出發, 作為感性和感知,‘sense’的生產者,  他們在環境的改變和社會事件上,是否有特殊性的存在呢?特別是接觸到人,那不僅僅只是空間,那會產生出怎樣的效果?主體對主體用藝術作為對話的時候,那又會產生怎樣的能動性效果?

鄭宏彬策展人,曾任廣東時代美術館 – 黃邊站的專案統籌,目前現任西安美術館策展人。他在此分享三個計畫項目,他於北京的城市邊緣空間跟藝術家調研,另外就是居民-硃砂腳的城市問題在城市圈討論,街區蹲點共同製作計畫。他主要是談及中國的大部分都在討論涉及民間話語的問題, 不管是城市跟農場,還是農場跟官方,或者是官方到民間都有言論的不對等,或者是言論傳播的不對等。


Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society Summer School- Gandhi and Maoism. By Chih-Ming Wang

Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society Summer School – Gandhi and Maoism

Speaker: Chih-Ming Wang

Date: 4th July (Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society Summer School)

Chih-Ming Wang addresses two main problematics in his presentation. The first one is the problematic of modernity, and he tries to find the question to how can India experience modernity, especially in its relation to British colonialism, and how after independence a nation can still be interdependent in the realm economy with the former colonial master. Secondly, he focuses on the idea of India. The author went once to India and found out that in order to go do it a foreigner requires a lot of preparation, due to the amount of different languages and different cultures in the country. Only in this way we can study and comprehend the complex situation of India.

The author focus then about the image of Gandhi. There speech turns around the practices of nonviolence and non-cooperation introduced by Gandhi and how they can resonate in current social movements. For Chih-Ming, the value of Gandhi goes beyond India. We think about resisting as acting, but Gandhi emphasizes passive resistance. He asks himself how is that possible and comments into Gandhi’s ideas and actions.

India was once “one nation”, but in 1905 British plans for the partition of Indian changed the statu-quo: it had implications in national sentiments and independence.

Gandhi’s went to make salt to the Ocean side as a form of social demonstration against the oppression. The act of making salt by hand shows the idea of self reliance, survival in “our own terms”. So we can also run the government by ourselves, we do not need to be ruled by the colonials masters. He then discusses with the audience about the image of Gandhi and what it means to them. For him, Gandhi, in a photo that he showed, looks like suffering peacefully, suffering as a weapon.

TThe technology was an important element in Gandhi’s thinking, precisely because technology is equated with modernity. Similarly, the Internet can help us to engage with the social movements in a easier way than the generation of Gandhi could.

During the independence struggle, the younger generation of Indians wanted more revolution, with violence, but for Gandhi, it was a weakness. As a weakness, he also talks about the tendency to demonize the other. Gandhi prevent us from using that other kind of indirect violence.